GCC Press Review 15 May 2019

Front Page Headlines

Politis

Trench warfare to thwart GESY (National Health Scheme)

Those who want a multi-payer system have enlisted internet trolls. A three-month extension to the operation of government pharmacies, some close down others remain open. The list of paediatricians choosing to be included in GESY is growing.

  • ‘Naval battle’… in private (meeting of Greek-Turkish FMs)
  • (EDEK MEP) Demetris Papadakis: We represent all the people

Phileleftheros

Diplomatic warfare

Unprecedented mobilisation by Nicosia and Ankara to promote their positions. The British greying of the EEZ is a headache for Nicosia.

  • Tatar-Ozersay close to an agreement
  • The pre-election conflict (of parties) escalates
  • Shocking narrative about the invasion by six pupils

Haravgi

Enough with their lies…

“They will not get out of the difficult position they are in with distractions,” said yesterday the General Secretary of AKEL responding to the DISY chairman. No one, he added, will forgive them for the unreliability and arrogance with which they rule, nor for their analgesia towards the many social problems, or the deadlocks they have led the Cyprob to.

  • New questioning of the Cypriot EEZ by (UK Minister for Europe) Sir Alan Duncan. “Unacceptable,” says the president.

Cyprus Mail

EEZ ‘under dispute’ comment elicits ire

Anastasiades brands UK minister’s remark as ‘unacceptable’, Fatih said to be preparing to drill.

Alithia

(AKEL) Preparing the ground since last year

A feud going back years with elements of revanchism. AKEL tabled in parliament a bill proposal in order to prevent Ionas Nicolaou’s appointment as Attorney-general. The party has been working on this issue since June 2018 and when Alithia had revealed their intentions they tried to deny it.

  • EU sanctions against Turkey –Tsipras announced them, calling on Ankara to cease provocations in the Cypriot EEZ. Katrougalos-Cavusoglu discuss tomorrow the EEZ and Cyprus. Turkish diplomats presented to foreign diplomats the Turkish version of maps of the Eastern Mediterranean.
  • President’s angry reaction to Sir Duncan
  • Turkey’s plan: (Ersin) Tatar as ‘prime minister’ and (Kudret) Ozersay as ‘president’

Main News

Anastasiades: Sir Alan is unacceptable

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

OVERVIEW

The UK Foreign Office has sought to clarify its position regarding Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) following the reaction by Nicosia to the UK’s Minister for Europe Sir Alan Duncan’s remark about “sovereignty under dispute”, the Cyprus Mail online reported on Wednesday morning.

In reply to a request on behalf of the National Federation of Cypriots in the UK by MP Mike Freer for clarification on Sir Alan’s statement, the Foreign Office initially repeated the same statement: “The position of the UK is that, in line with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, exploratory drilling should not proceed in any area where sovereignty is under dispute.”

It then repeated the previously stated UK position on the Cypriot EEZ saying: “We recognise the sovereign right of the Republic of Cyprus to exploit the oil and gas in its internationally agreed EEZ. We believe Cyprus’ oil and gas should be developed for the benefit of all Cypriots, as the Foreign Office has said before,” the news portal reports.

Wednesday’s papers reported that the government is not happy with Sir Alan Duncan’s commentson  the Cypriot EEZ while Nicosia and Ankara engage in diplomatic warfare, each trying to get the European and international community to back their positions. Meanwhile, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsiprasannounced that financial sanctions are in store for Turkey if it does not behave as the Fatih drillship readies to get to work.

President Nicos Anastasiades on Tuesday said that the British minister was unacceptable and called on the UK prime minister to take measures.

“Mr Duncan has been and continues to remain unacceptable,” Anastasiades said about comments made by Sir Alan Duncan. The president said he had made similar comments in the past. “I want to believe that the appropriate step will be taken by the Prime Minister, because I believe that his whole position does not reflect the correct policy that should be followed by Great Britain, regarding all the interests it has in Cyprus, and the support Britain has received in these critical times it is going through, even if it is from our small country, which has the same vote as the others,” Anastasiades said.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Duncan said that drilling should not be conducted in an area under disputed sovereignty. His statements followed UK-Cypriot MP Bambos Charalambous’ call on parliament to condemn Turkey’s actions in the EEZ. Duncan said: “I met with the Turkish ambassador yesterday, and had a very constructive talk with him. The position of the UK is that, according to the UN Convention on the Law of the Seas, exploratory drilling cannot be conducted in any area in which the sovereignty is disputed.”

Haravgi reports that the Cypriot EEZ is being put in doubt once more. Duncan’s comments follow the statement by the US Foreign Ministry on ‘an area the Republic of Cyprus claims as its EEZ’ but also the evasive response by the German foreign ministry which did not make clear whether it considered the Turkish actions as illegal, the daily said.

Reports on Tuesday said the Turkish drillship Fatih, located 60km west of Paphos seemed to be preparing to start drilling in the island’s waters at the site dubbed Finike-1.

Phileleftheros and Alithia report that Greek premier Tsipras warned Turkey during an interview with Greece’s Alpha TV that unless it ceases its provocative tactics against Greece and Cyprus there would be financial sanctions imposed by the EU. He also said Turkey did not have the technology to conduct a proper drilling.

Meanwhile, Defence Minister Savvas Angelides called on EU partners to take measures against Turkey. “I believe now it is important to take measures, and the EU has said that it will act accordingly, monitoring Turkey’s actions,” he said during a Defence session of the Foreign Affairs Council, in Brussels. He added that it is clear all steps are being taken to stop the illegal action of Turkey. Angelides is going to France next for a meeting with the country’s defence minister, focusing on Turkey’s actions in Cyprus’ EEZ.

Politis, citing sources, reported that Turkey’s actions in the Cypriot EEZ will be the only issue discussed on Thursday in Helsinki by the Greek Foreign Minister Giorgos Katrougalos and his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu.

According to Phileleftheros, Cyprus’ and Turkey’s foreign ministries are engaging in diplomatic warfare each racing to explain their positions on the matter. The Cypriot side seeks sanctions, explaining how Turkish actions in the island’s EEZ are illegal, while Turkey argues her actions are in fact legal, the daily reported.

During a briefing in Ankara last Friday of foreign ambassadors the Turkish foreign ministry argued that the drilling was taking place in Turkey’s continental shelf after the state petroleum company TPAO received a permit by the pseudo-state, Phileleftheros reported.

During the briefing, a map was shown to the ambassadors marking the so-called Turkish continental shelf, the areas where the pseudo-state ‘licensed’ TPAO to drill and offshore blocks of the Republic of Cyprus which Turkey does not recognise and which the ministry claimed fall within Turkey’s areas.

The Turkish foreign ministry explained that due to the non-solution of the Cyprus problem, there are disputed, grey areas in which foreign companies now carry out drillings, which it described as unacceptable, Phileleftheros reported, citing CNN Turk.

The daily also reports that Slovak Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini reassured House President Demetris Syllouris, that Bratislava would back the notion to adopt measures against Turkey at the European Council in June.

KEY ACTORS
Anastasiades
>>
Duncan has been and continues to remain unacceptable. This is not the first time he has made similar comments.
>> Wants to see action by the British PM against Duncan expressing belief his position does not reflect the correct policy that should be followed by the UK regarding all the interests it has in Cyprus.
>> Cyprus has supported the UK during its current time of need.

Duncan (UK)
>> There cannot be any drilling in any area in which the sovereignty is disputed as per the law of the sea convention.

Foreign Office (UK)
>>
 Repeated UK position that as per the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, exploratory drilling should not proceed in any area where sovereignty is under dispute, but that it recognises the sovereign right of the RoC to exploit the oil and gas in its internationally agreed EEZ.
>> The island’s oil and gas should be developed for the benefit of all Cypriots.

Tsipras (Greece)
>> Turkey faces financial sanctions unless it ceases provocative tactics against Greece and Cyprus.
>> Turkey does not have the technology to carry out a proper drilling.

Angelides
>> Calls for action by the EU against Turkey.


DISY: EU partners support government, opposition lambasts it

Alithia, Phileleftheros
EU Matters, Regional/International Relations

OVERVIEW

DIKO leader Nicolas Papadopoulos on Tuesday welcomed the statements condemning Turkish actions and supporting the Republic of Cyprus by European officials and important regional players, but called for immediate and effective action at the European level.

“If we do not achieve practical measures, Turkey will extend these violations in other areas of Cyprus’ EEZ and we will be in danger of losing our entire energy programme,” he said, according to Alithia.

He said that the measures now being taken by the government are the same his party had suggested a few years ago as part of its New Strategy but were ignored at the time.

The dailies report that the public spats between political parties ahead of the Euro-elections continue.

Phileleftheros reports that this time, ruling DISY turned against AKEL but also DIKO. DISY vice president Nicos Nouris said that while Cyprus’ European partners lend their support to the government, the opposition parties continue to criticise it. He accused DIKO of seeking justification for its “so-called New Strategy.”

The parties now also accuse each other over internal matters such as the way police handled the case of the serial killer, the paper reports.

KEY ACTORS
Papadopoulos (DIKO)
>>
Statements from abroad supporting RoC on Turkish action in Cypriot EEZ are good, but immediate and effective action by the EU is needed.
>>
If practical measures are not taken, Turkey will extend violations in other areas of Cyprus’ EEZ with the RoC risking to lose its entire energy programme.
>> The measures the government is now taking are the same as those included in DIKO’s New Strategy (included in its presidential election campaign) which the government then ignored.

Nouris (DISY)
>>
Government receives support from European partners but is criticised by the opposition.
>> DIKO is using the situation to seek justification for its so-called New Strategy.


MEPs represent all Cypriots

Politis
EU Matters

OVERVIEW

EDEK MEP Yiannis Papadakis who is seeking re-election said that Cypriot MEPs represent all Cypriots.

In an interview with Politis, discussing the debate in the public sphere on the participation on TCs in party tickets for the Euro-elections, Papadakis said that MEPs represent all Cypriots and that the  current discussion only serves petty political expediencies.

Asked how Cypriot MEPs actively support the TCs, he said that he himself has on several occasions submitted many questions to the European Commission on issues concerning the destruction of the environment in the occupied areas, the paper reports.

KEY ACTORS
Papadakis (EDEK)
>> Cypriot MEPs in Brussels represent all Cypriots.


Cypriot pupils win PanHellenic award for their story on 1974 invasion

Phileleftheros
Human Rights

OVERVIEW

Six primary school pupils won an award for their short story on the invasion. Their story ‘I wish it was a dream’ won the third prize at the competition ‘Cyprus-Greece-Hellenes Abroad: Educational Bridges’. It was chosen among 1,850 works submitted by 245 schools.

The six girls, who go to The International School of Paphos, were able, with the help of their teacher Eleana Charalambous to capture through their innocent viewpoint a piece of the country’s modern history, the daily said.

One of the pupils, Athena Michaelidou, said their story describes the brutal invasion in Cyprus in 1974 through the eyes of two children of the time.


UK Metropolitan Police apologises for ‘TRNC’ flag

Alithia, Phileleftheros
Negotiations Process

OVERVIEW

The Metropolitan Police in the UK issued an apology after the Turkish Police Association exhibited a flag of the pseudo-state at the Turkish Cypriot Festival at Donkey Lane on Sunday 17 June 2018. The image with the flag was later also shared on the official Enfield MPS twitter account.

Following an investigation into a complaint by the National Federation of Cypriots in the UK the head of the local Metropolitan Police branch, Superintendent Nusrit Mehtab, expressed apologies on behalf of her service.


New ‘government’ in the north coming soon

Alithia, Haravgi, Phileleftheros,Politis
Governance & Power Sharing

OVERVIEW

The papers report that results of consultations in the north for a new ‘government’ are expected by the weekend after Akinci gave leader of the National Unity Party (UBP) Ersin Tatar the green light to form a coalition ‘government’. Tatar stated that the next time he will be visiting the TC leader’s office will be to submit the list of names for the new ‘cabinet’.

Phileleftheros reports that UBP and Kudret Ozersay’s People’s Party (HP) are very close to reaching an agreement that would lead to the formation of the 41st so-called government in the occupied areas.

Alithia reports that Turkey’s plan for the occupied areas is for Tatar to be ‘prime minister’ and Ozersay ‘president’. Citing Turkish media, the daily reported that Turkey was behind the collapse of the four-party coalition ‘government’ because it does not want Akinci.