Front Page Headlines
EU in readiness for the next step
Strong declaration by the (EU) partners on measures against Turkey. President Anastasiades goes to the top level summit in Brussels with strong cards. Turkish foreign ministry: You have turned the EU-Turkey relations into a hostage of the Cyprob.
- Except from fish, there were other things on the menu– A shady social dinner.
- Varosha: They start the inventory
- Maronites: Resettlement with €20,000 as dowry
- 71,000 GCs (crossed) through Dherynia in 2019
- 85 TCs in courts (claiming their properties)
Actions for measures are being set in motion
The dice have been cast by the EU on actions against Turkey over the (Cypriot) EEZ. Ankara responds to Europe with two new provocations.
- More foreigners leave the Fatih as a result of the arrest warrants
- Social dinner between Anastasiades and Ozersay
- Lawyers send eviction ultimatums to refugees – 85 cases of TCs claiming their properties. Don’t worry, reassures the interior ministry.
- US-Turkey are pushing it even more – On Russian missiles.
Eighty-five cases of claims to TC properties
The cases of TCs claiming their property at the level of civil lawsuits, either for compensation or for the immediate return of their properties have increased. There is also a case pending for a large area of land including part of the Paphos Airport, part of the Andreas Papandreou air base, part of the Timi refugee estate and agricultural land.
- Secret dinner between Anastasiades – Ozersay
- The EEZ (will be discussed) in Brussels – The Yavuz is coming too.
EEZ row deepens as all eyes on EU
Anastasiades says optimistic, can’t achieve goals with rhetoric similar to Turkey.
- More GCs than TCs cross checkpoints
The road for measures against Turkey has been paved
Attention for the next two days will be on the EU leaders’ summit. Turkey faces for the first time punishment. The foreign ministers are asking the (EU) Commission and the EU Foreign Affairs Council to submit specific proposals without delay.
- Secret dinner between Anastasiades-Ozersay – Uproar in the occupied areas after reports in the TC press. The President of the Republic and the ‘foreign minister’ met two weeks ago for around four hours at the house of the parliamentary representative of the Maronites.
- TCs claim their properties in the free areas – Over 85 cases.
- The TCs are preparing for settling in Varosha: The pseudo state’s cabinet has decided to open Varosha
One step closer to EU measures against TurkeyAlithia, Cyprus Mail, Haravgi, Phileleftheros, Politis
EU Matters, Energy, Regional/International Relations
All eyes are on the European Council summit taking place on June 20 and 21 in Brussels where EU leaders are expected to discuss Turkey’s actions in the Cypriot exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and possible measures. Turkey, however, carries on with drilling activities within Cyprus’ EEZ while announcing the arrival of a second drillship, the papers report.
Most of the dailies, citing an announcement by the foreign ministry, report that the EU Commission will propose political and economic measures against Turkey for its actions in the Cyprus EEZ. The General Affairs Council (GAC) that convened on Tuesday in Luxemburg, invited the EC and the European External Action Service (EEAS) to submit “options for appropriate measures” against Turkey “without delay” due to the country’s refusal to conform with international law and EU calls for restraint with regard to its drilling activities.
The proposals are expected to be tabled during Friday’s European Council summit, where developments in the Eastern Mediterranean and Turkey’s actions are on the agenda.
The GAC also expressed serious concerns over Turkey’s current illegal drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean and “deplores that Turkey has not yet responded to the European Union’s repeated calls to cease such activities.”
It underlined the serious immediate negative impact that such illegal actions have across the range of EU-Turkey relations and called on Turkey to show restraint, respect the sovereign rights of Cyprus, and refrain from any such actions.
The EU will closely monitor developments and stands ready to respond appropriately and in full solidarity with Cyprus, the GAC’s conclusions said.
According to the Cyprus Mail, President Nicos Anastasiades greeted what he called a positive development, but doubted whether it would have an impact on Turkish behaviour, which he said is “out of control.”
Earlier on Tuesday, Anastasiades said he was optimistic the EU would take a strong stance regarding Turkey’s violations of the island’s sovereignty referring to the European Council summit later this week.
“What I can tell you is that this is our objective, and I believe that the Mediterranean EU member states summit signals a more robust stance by the EU,” Anastasiades said.
The Cyprus Mail also reports that Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras too had made efforts in assisting Cyprus secure measures against Turkey by the bloc. Tsipras spoke with EU Council President Donald Tusk on Tuesday.
According to Phileleftheros, the European Commissioner for European Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn, has already given a hint of the intention of the bloc to take measures, among them freezing pre-accession funds excluding those earmarked for civil society.
The measures the EEAS will suggest are expected to concern legal measures against companies or individuals involved in the drillings, depending on developments as regards Turkey’s actions, the daily reported.
According to the paper, Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides worked very hard to pave the way for measures against Turkey while the stance of Spain, Poland, Britain, the Czech Republic, and Sweden did not allow for immediate measures as per Nicosia’s call. Nicosia had requested linking the liberalisation of European visas for Turkish citizens with Turkey’s illegal actions in the Cypriot EEZ which was rejected by almost all the member states since this issue is related to the Euro-Turkish agreement on the refugee issue. Nicosia has suggested also linking the issue with the upgrading of the Customs Union, something that Berlin and Paris did not favour, as well as with Turkey’s negotiation chapters, it reported.
Cyprus will, however, be able to resubmit these proposals at a later stage depending on developments on the ground and given the threat for a second Turkish drilling rig in the Cypriot EEZ, Phileleftheros reported.
The daily also reports that Christodoulides has briefed his EU counterparts at the GAC on Turkey’s ongoing illegal activities. Brussels cannot remain idle but ought to effectively use all the means in its disposal to tackle Turkish provocations, Christodoulides said, according to Phileleftheros.
Politis reported that the first ‘battle’ at the GAC had a positive outcome and now all eyes are on the European Council summit.
The papers report that meanwhile, Turkey’s Energy Minister Fatih Donmez said the Fatih drillship continues its operations at the site dubbed ‘Finike 1’, having already drilled to a depth of 3,000 metres and that by the endof July it would have reached its target which is to reach 5,000 to 5,500 metres below sea level. He also announced that Turkey’s second drillship, the Yavuz, would set course this week for a location in the Eastern Mediterranean, to begin drilling in early July.
The Yavuz will reportedly head for an area off the Karpasia peninsula.
Phileleftheros, in another article, citing sources, reports that the legal measures Cyprus has taken against staff and companies involved in the Fatih drillship’s activities have caused problems. Turkey is carrying out drillings off Cyprus but with problems and delays since another international company, Baker Hughes, that was providing technical support to the Turkish petroleum company TPAO has left citing illegal activities not provided for in its contract with TPAO. Baker Hughes was one of the three remaining international companies that participated in drillings off Antalya and the first stages of the illegal drilling in the Cypriot EEZ, the daily reported.
One the two remaining companies, Weatherford International, is at the brink
of bankruptcy while the other
is considering withdrawing,
General Affairs Council (EU)
>> Very concerned over Turkey’s illegal drilling activities in the East Med and wants to see appropriate measures against Turkey without delay.
>> Called on Turkey to show restraint, respect the sovereign rights of Cyprus, and refrain from any such actions that negatively impact EU-Turkey relations.
>> Welcomes the GAC conclusions as a positive development but is not sure this would make Turkey which is out of control stop its actions in the EEZ.
>> Expresses optimism the European Council summit would take a strong stance on the matter judging by the recently expressed support of other Mediterranean EU states for Cyprus.
>> The EU must not turn a blind eye to Turkey’s illegal activities but rather use all the means in its disposal to respond accordingly.
Anastasiades: Dinner with Ozersay was not aimed at marginalising AkinciAlithia, Cyprus Mail, Haravgi, Phileleftheros, Politis
Governance & Power Sharing, Negotiations Process, Property, Territory
President Nicos Anastasiades admitted to meeting socially TC ‘Foreign Minister’ Kudret Ozersay some 15 days ago following the uproar in the north over the meeting in question, the dailies report.
Anastasiades said on Tuesday evening that he did meet with Ozersay on June 4 on the invitation by the representative of the Maronite religious group in parliament, Yiannakis Mousas. He said he attended the dinner with his wife and Ozersay with his.
The president said it was a social nature dinner “and that is all”.
He said they did not meet to discuss the talks but had a general overview of the Cyprus problem refuting claims it was an attempt to marginalise TC leader Mustafa Akinci.
Anastasiades said he did not need anyone’s permission on who he would have dinner with especially when it concerns purely social events.
Phileleftheros reports that the government kept the meeting a secret and Anastasiades admitted to it taking place after a statement by Akinci’s spokesman, Baris Burcu, on the matter.
Burcu, the daily said, expressed Akinci’s discontent over what he perceived as an attempt to be undermined by Anastasiades and Ozersay.
The Cyprus Mail, citing reports in the north, said that a meeting between Anastasiades and Ozersay without Akinci knowing about it has caused a rift between the two TC politicians.
The daily also reports that former AKEL presidential candidate and minister Stavros Malas tweeted “as the Turkish drillship is in the Cyprus EEZ, what exactly did the president secretly want to discuss with Ozersay, who is appointed by Turkey and a proponent of a two-state solution? Could it be what the president began discussing with Turkey in 2017, after Crans-Montana? That is, a two-state solution?”
According to Phileleftheros Ankara has rushed to take advantage of the event by linking it to developments in the region. Ankara considers as positive a dialogue between the two sides, the paper said.
Haravgi and Alithia report on a secret dinner between Anastasiades and Ozersay. According to Alithia, the meeting took place in Mousa’s home and lasted four hours.
Haravgi reports that Anastasiades and Ozersay were forced to admit they had a secret dinner. It cited information from the occupied areas on a ‘hushed up consensus on the issue of two states’.
According to Politis, the two men refute claims but rumors intensify. TC sources and reports talk about rumors that Anastasiades and Ozersay are discussing alternative solutions to the Cyprus problem, the paper reported.
The dailies also report on the decisions by the TC ‘cabinet’ on Tuesday concerning Varosha and the Maronites.
As regards the fenced-off city of Varosha, Ozersay said a group of experts will be tasked with conducting a scientific inventory of the town to study its land registry records, the condition of its movable and immovable properties, the identification of Islamic religious organisation Evkaf properties and environmental risks.
This according to TC sources this is a step towards the opening of the fenced off city.
Referring to the Maronite village of Karpasha, Ozersay said that contracts will be signed within the week to remove current residents living in 10 in 15 houses in the village to which former Maronite residents will then be able to return.
>> His meeting with Ozersay was purely social and was not aimed at marginalising Akinci. They discussed the Cyprob in general.
>> He has the right to meet with whomever he wants without anyone’s permission especially on purely social occasions.
State reassures GC refugees will not lose homes after TC owners claim their rightsAlithia, Cyprus Mail, Haravgi, Phileleftheros, Politis
Property, Human Rights
Authorities on Tuesday confirmed that 85 lawsuits filed by TCs are pending in courts with applicants seeking either outright return of their land in the south or compensation, the papers report.
MPs were shocked to find out that one of the legal firms representing a major case of TCs claiming their property is that of President Nicos Anastasiades. The law firm in question, however, said this is not exactly the case.
According to the papers, a representative of the state legal service told the House refugees committee that the numbers alone suggest there is a problem although it did not mean that the courts would rule in favour of the TC applicants since, to date, no court in the south has found a problem with the relevant legislation. The practice of leasing TC properties in the south to GC refugees has been upheld, the official said.
Kypros Kyprianou, the interior ministry’s permanent secretary, too said the legislation as well as the practice are airtight and there was no cause for alarm. He told MPs that GC refugees who were allocated land to build their homes are completely safe.
But the head of the committee, AKEL MP Skevi Koukouma, said that refugees are worried despite the assurances of the authorities because behind a lawsuit against 52 families in Kato Polemidia are large law firms including that of President Nicos Anastasiades. She said the firm Dilinos & Associates assigned to the Nicos Anastasiades & Partners law firm to deliver the lawsuit documents to the refugees.
The lawsuit received by the 52 families who were allocated state land for the purpose of self-housing, is directed at the Republic among others. The case was filed in 2017, and the first hearing is expected later this month. The lawsuit sought a decree ordering the refugees to leave the property within 30 days and to demolish the buildings they erected. It also calls for compensation for unlawful interference and violation of the human rights of the TC owners, and rents for loss of use, legal interest as well as exemplary and punitive damages for unlawful interference.
Polemidia’s community leader told the Committee that government assurances ring hollow and that refugees live in constant fear of losing their homes. He hinted that the GC refugees themselves might now sue the state because they were “tricked.”
Phileleftheros and Alithia report that the Limassol-based Nicos Anastasiades & Partners law firm said in an announcement that the lawsuit in question was filed to the Limassol district court by the Dilinos law firm which is based in Larnaca. It said it is common practice to mention in court an office based in the same district as the court where the lawsuit is filed.
The law firm said that some chose to distort the facts citing political expediencies.
For the first time since 2003 more GCs crossed to north than TCs to southCyprus Mail, Politis
CBMs, Economy, Negotiations Process
The dailies report on a survey by Politis that says that for the first time since the checkpoints opened in April 2003, the number of crossings by GCs in 2019 surpassed those of TCs.
The Cyprus Mail, citing a survey by Politis that used police statistics reported that that so far this year there were 1.9m crossings excluding those at Pergamos and Strovilia which are run by the British bases – from the GC side until the end of May compared with 1.2m crossings from the north.
According to those statistics, in the month of May there were 182,843 crossings by GCs at the six crossings compared with only 64,523 in the same month last year. The number of TC crossings rose from 87,648 in May 2018 to 103,500 in the same month this year.
Politis also reported that based on the tendency recorded so far this year, it is expected that the numbers of GCs crossing to the occupied areas will be doubled.
When the checkpoints opened in April 2003 there were 1.12m crossings from the south of the island that month compared with 1.37m from the north.
Since then, TCs have consistently shown a bigger number of crossings, peaking at 2.2m in 2005 but remaining steady around 800,000 to 900,000 since.
As regards the movement of vehicles, in 2015 some 177,654 vehicles passed through GC checkpoints heading north compared with 419,288 so far this year. TCs crossing in cars numbered 196,228 in the first five months of 2019.
The biggest factor cited for the huge influx from south to north was the devaluation of the Turkish lira, which prompted thousands of GCs to cross in search of cheaper fuel, medicines and groceries over 2018 and 2019. Fuel is reportedly 40 cents cheaper per litre in the north.
The numbers are also reflected in credit-card spending. While in 2017 GCs spent some €9.4m in the north, in 2018 this figure, according to JCC data, rose to €15m. In January to May this year the figure has already reached €7.76m.
In 2017 TCs spent almost €26m in the south of the island but since the fall of the lira, their spending has dropped, reaching only €6.5m in the first five m From Deryneia during the two months of 2018
As regards the two newly opened crossings, Politis reported that during the last two months of 2018, 21,223 GCs and 8,374 TCs crossed through the Dherynia crossing. In the first five months of 2019, 71,656 GCs crossed and 31,183 TCs. From the crossing of Lefka 2,151 GCs and 2,155 TCs crossed during last November and December, while in the first five months of this year, 5,552 GCs and 4,270 TCs crossed.
Politis quotes Dr Harris Psaltis, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Cyprus, who told Politis radio that surveys show the number of people who have developed friendships with members of the other community has risen over the years, almost doubled among GCs and almost tripled among TCs.
Psaltis said the visits could be due to financial reasons but that this gives also the opportunity for one to talk and meet people and break down some stereotypes in their mind.
He said research has rejected claims that crossings contribute to establishing the status quo. In fact, research shows that those with contacts on the other side tend to be less in favour of partition, Psaltis said. “Persons who have frequent contacts on the other side and have developed friendships tend to be inclined to a more positive attitude towards the other community, which leads to a greater readiness to accept a compromise federation solution,” Psaltis said according to Politis.
OSCE supports Cyprob solution effortsHaravgi, Phileleftheros, Politis
Negotiations Process, Regional/International Relations
The dailies report that the President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly President, George Tsereteli, pledged the organisation’s support to the efforts for a peaceful solution to the Cyprus problem.
Tsereteli, who was in Cyprus for a visit, was briefed by President Nicos Anastasiades on the Turkish provocations in the island’s EEZ. He also met with House Speaker Demetris Syllouris.
He said the OSCE considers Cyprus an important partner and praised the existing bilateral cooperation. He added that Cyprus is a model country among the OSCE member states and especially the smaller ones.