GCC Press Review 25 Jun 2019

Front Page Headlines


Tears and apology but without explanations

(Serial killer Nicos) Metaxas has been given seven life sentences, five of which are consecutive. Metaxas said he did not know the reasons that led to his heinous crimes. In his testimonies, he tried to tarnish his victims with fantasies about their morals.

  • Back to the soil of the land he loved – Cyprus bids farewell to Demetris Christofias. From today he becomes part of history and memories.
  • €145 m to priests and counting! – Parliament briefed on the 1971 agreement (between the Church and the state).
  • Erdogan: His focus is on the G20 (summit)


They bring in Syrians in an organised manner

Turkey and pseudo-state transport migrants in Tymbou and they send them to the free areas. They assumed the role of illegal people smugglers, the interior minister reports and calls on the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to intervene. 16,000 applications for political asylum are pending.

  • Final farewell to Demetris Christofias
  • The president calls for patience on the measures (against Turkey)
  • The state subsidy to the Church has exceeded €145m
  • (Cerkez Korkmaz) “I will end up in Turkey if you extradite me to Germany”
  • Erdogan’s side-effects for losing Polis (Istanbul)


The people bid farewell to their leader

Thousands of ordinary people, wage earners, labourers, farmers, of culture and letters, parties, institutions, personalities from Cyprus and abroad bid farewell to the former AKEL general secretary and former President of the Republic Demetris Christofias. “Cyprus lost a great patriot, a great leader, a Communist trooper, an internationalist,” said the message of AKEL’s leadership.

  • The president is using the EU procedures as a pretext for non-measures against Turkey
  • Trapped African students (in the occupied areas)
  • Turkey: Towards political reshuffling

Cyprus Mail

‘Abominable’ killer gets life

Court hands out seven life sentences. Metaxas was on a ‘murder campaign’. ‘I would like to turn back time, I cannot,’ says killer.

  • Asylum claims rose 69 per cent last year, the highest rate in all of the EU
  • Erdogan suffers loss in second Istanbul vote



The final act of the horror that shocked Cyprus. The curtain fell on the shocking case of the serial killer Nicos Metaxas, who murdered five women and two children between 2016 and 2018. He calmly heard the seven life sentences.

  • The final farewell to Christofias – Today is the funeral.
  • Anastasiades: Measures against Turkey take some time, there are procedures
  • Greek FM: We won an important diplomatic battle against Turkey
  • Ersin Tatar: We will open Varosi under TC administration
  • Interior ministry on migrants: The Turks are sending them over in an organised manner
  • Turkey-Elections: Why Erdogan lost Istanbul

Main News

Anastasiades: Be patient, EU sanctions against Turkey take time

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


President Nicos Anastasiades called for patience as sanctions by the EU take time following criticism that the government did not achieve any measures against Turkey, the papers report.

Anastasiades said on Monday that he was saddened by reports that last week’s European Council failed to immediately announce sanctions against Ankara, arguing that this did not convey an accurate picture.

The measures take some time, as there are established procedures within the EU, he said. “That is not how the EU operates.” He said that in the case of EU sanctions against Russia it had taken the bloc six months to adopt measures. Certain procedures need to be followed by the European Commission, and moreover arrangements have to be made for a European Council summit to adopt the measures being proposed, Anastasiades said.

He added that the strong language adopted by the European Council likely emanated from the fact that, while the council was meeting, Turkey was escalating its illegal activities by launching a second drillship.

Meanwhile, Greek Foreign Minister Giorgos Katrougalos said that the European Council’s decisions constituted an important diplomatic victory for Greece and Cyprus.

The papers, citing an interview of the Greek FM with the Cyprus News Agency, reported that Katrougalos underlined that the European Council’s decisions provide for the first time concrete targeted measures against Turkey while the message has been received by Turkey.

He said these decisions are not expected to put an end to Turkey’s illegal actions in Cyprus’ EEZ, it means however that Turkey realises that as long as she continues along this path, she will suffer losses.

“We must, therefore, continue calmly to implement this policy which is based on principles, while persisting in the implementation of “substantial and not soft measures” against Turkey, as the European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, has said”, Katrougalos stressed.

As regards the Cyprus Problem, Katrougalos said that the Greek government maintains close communication with the UNSG’s Special Envoy Jane Holl Lute and submitted its positions on this subject.

Greece and Cyprus would like a solution to the Cyprus Problem the soonest, but it can only be resolved on the basis of the UN resolutions, he said. He added that the chapter of security, the withdrawal of the occupation forces from Cyprus and the abolition of the anachronistic system of guarantees, are the starting points for any possible reopening of the negotiation process.

Haravgi reports that Anastasiades is trying to reassure public opinion while Turkey carries on with her illegal plans on the Cypriot EEZ and the Yavuz drillship is sailing to Karpasia.

Phileleftheros, Haravgi, Cyprus Mail and Politis also report that Defence Minister Savvas Angelides had the opportunity to brief his British counterpart Penny Mordaunt on Turkey’s illegal and hostile actions in the Republic’s EEZ. Angelides told the UK minister, who was in Cyprus on an official visit, that Turkish actions were violating the Republic’s sovereign rights, international and European law, but also the Law of the Sea, while setting in immediate threat to the stability of the entire Eastern Mediterranean.

The two ministers also discussed bilateral cooperation on security and defence and exchanged views on further developing and deepening their cooperation, based on the Memorandum of Understanding recently signed between Cyprus and the UK.

It is not true the EU failed to announce measures against Turkey. It will happen but it takes times as there are procedures.
>> The European Council adopted a strong language against Turkey probably because while it was meeting, Turkey was escalating its illegal activities in the Cypriot EEZ.

Katrougalos (Greek FM)
The European Council’s decisions that provide for the first time concrete targeted measures against Turkey are an important diplomatic victory for Greece and Cyprus.
>> The message has been received by Turkey but it does not mean she will cease her illegal actions. She now knows that as long as she continues along this path, she will suffer losses, however.
>> Greece & Cyprus must continue to implement their policy which is based on principles to tackle Turkish provocations while at the same time persist in the implementation of substantial and strict measures against Turkey.
>> Greece & Cyprus want a Cyprob solution the soonest but only one that is based on UN parameters will do. Withdrawal of Turkish troops & abolition of guarantees is a must.

Tatar: Varosha will open under TC administration

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


The papers report on statements by TC ‘Prime Minister’ Ersin Tatar that the closed-off town of Varosha would open at some point under TC administration and that there would be investments.

Tatar also addressed the claims by the religious foundation EVKAF over thousands of donums of land in Varosha dating back to the Ottoman period. He said they had been stolen by people who had built on EVKAF land.

Phileleftheros said that Tata’s statements show an effort is under way for the Turkish side to prove that Varosha is in fact Ottoman land and therefore belongs to Turks and the occupation regime. After it succeeds that, it would be able to open the town under TC administration, the paper said.

Tatar’s reference is not a random one since the occupation regime wants to achieve decisions through which Varosha will be considered TC land, which will completely change the landscape as regards any discussions on the ownership status of the closed-off town, the paper said.

Alithia reports extensively on the matter but also that Tatar said that this is the first time a TC ‘government’ programme includes a two-state solution.

Politis also reports that if TC reports that hoteliers from the southern Aegean have asked to be allowed to start operating establishments in Varosha are true, then the issue of the closed-off town is getting even bigger dimensions.

Haravgi reports that Tatar insists on the opening of Varosha under TC administration.

The paper also reports on an article by Foreign Policy magazine on the exploitation of students from Africa in the occupied areas.

According to the magazine’s report, students from Africa seeking a better future in Europe end up trapped in southern Cyprus, some even end up dead, Haravgi reported.

Varosha will open under TC administration and investments will be encouraged.
>> Current property owners of Varosha stole EVKAF’s land which it owes since the Ottoman era,  by building on it.
>> This is the first time ever a TC ‘government’ will pursue a two-state solution.

State to get Church land over rural priests’ salaries deal

Haravgi, Phileleftheros, Politis


The House finance committee is discussing how to amend a 1971 agreement between the Church and the government that stipulates for the latter to pay the salaries of priests in rural areas in exchange with the transfer of church land to the government, the papers report.

The government has kept its part of the deal and paid between 1971 and 2018, €145 m in priest salaries but the Church has yet to transfer to the government the 15,000 acres of land as per the deal. The deal, proposed by Archbishop Makarios, was approved by the cabinet in 1971 which he was presiding being also the President of the Republic.

Based on a new deal between the Church and the government, a process is underway for the transfer to the state of 4,050 acres of land located in the free areas worth €81,3 m. The deal also concerns 10,950 acres worth around €125,2 m located in the occupied areas.

Phileleftheros reports that a bill by the finance ministry tabled in parliament last May aiming to regulate the matter does not provide for a ceiling to the state subsidy on church salaries with MPs wondering whether the payments would continue even after the amount paid exceeds the €206 m which is the land’s worth.

MPs told the daily they would amend the bill to ensure the state’s interests.

Former President Christofias to be buried today

Alithia, Cyprus Mail, Haravgi, Phileleftheros, Politis
Governance & Power Sharing


Scores of politicians from Cyprus and abroad are to attend the funeral of former President Demetris Christofias taking place on Tuesday afternoon in Strovolos, Nicosia, the papers report.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has travelled from Greece especially, including other politicians from Greece.

TC leader Mustafa Akinci will not attend but he is expected to send his spokesman Baris Burcu the papers reported. TC politicians Mehmet Ali Talat and Tufan Erhurman are expected to attend as well as representatives of other TC parties and trade unions.

Christofias was to lie in state for a few hours on Tuesday before the funeral. He will be buried with full state honours.

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