GCC Press Review 9 July 2019

Front Page Headlines

Politis

Turkish triangle in the Cypriot EEZ (exclusive economic zone)

Turkey, with the arrival of the Yavuz in Karpasia, has surrounded Cyprus. “Suggestions for appropriate measures” against Ankara by the EU promised Mogherini. The position of the coordinator of Cypriot affairs within the Erdogan government defies TCs on EEZ issues.

Phileleftheros

New warning by Mogherini

She reminds Ankara that sanctions are on the way in full solidarity with Cyprus. The Dutch company replies to Phileleftheros: Our vessels will not support the Yavuz’s operations in Cypriot waters.

  • Holy Friday for the Kurdish fighter

Haravgi

‘Siege’ by Turkish drillships

Cyprus is ‘under siege’ since yesterday by the Turkish drillships. After the Fatih which is west of Paphos and despite warnings for sanctions, Turkey has also dispatched the Yavuz which will carry out research drillings south of the Karpasia peninsula. EU and Moscow express concerns over the “unacceptable escalation”, while the government remembered now the intensive dialogue for solution…

  • Very close to the (implementation) of the mobile telephony CBM (confidence building measure)
  • The ‘Resistance Bus’ from 1974 Limassol returned to the Paphos Municipality yesterday

Cyprus Mail

‘Turkey’s actions of grave concern’

EU’s Mogherini calls on Ankara to respect Cyprus’ sovereignty.

Alithia

Akinci is persona non grata for Ankara

Turkey is openly sawing Akinci’s chair off. Turkish officials, on Ankara’s orders, avoid meeting with the TC leader when visiting the occupied areas and promote the partition visionary, Kudret Ozersay.  Akinci’s participation in an economy conference by the Turkish-Turkish Cypriot chambers of commerce was cancelled. Akinci: Those who behave this way they are losing (the esteem) of the people.

  • Mogherini bares her teeth at Erdogan on the drillings
  • Very close to the mobile telephony CBM – The issue will be discussed tomorrow during Spehar’s meetings with the two leaders.
  • (New Greek Prime Minister) Kyriacos Mitsotakis: ‘Koulis’ had the last laugh

Main News

EU: Presence of second Turkish drillship off Cyprus a grave concern

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

OVERVIEW

Main story in Tuesday’s papers is reaction by the government and the EU to Turkey’s plans for a second drilling off Karpasia.

As the second Turkish drillship, the Yavuz, which is expected to begin drilling for oil and natural gas near Cyprus this week arrived off the island’s northeastern coast on Monday, the government strongly condemned Turkey’s action, saying it was an escalation of the ongoing violation of the Republic’s sovereign rights.

The presidency said Turkey’s action was a very serious violation of the sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus.

 “Turkey continues to violate international law, conventional and customary, blatantly ignoring calls by the European Union and the international community to end its illegal actions and respect the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus to explore and exploit its natural resources within its sea areas,” the statement said.

It accused Ankara of refusing to engage in talks, deliberately avoiding them with the aim of creating new fait accompli. The presidency said it was paradoxical that Turkey, while refusing to recognise the Republic, a member of the EU and the UN that has struck agreements with neighbouring countries, “cites international law and claims to be acting with the permission of an illegal occupation regime.”

The statement said Ankara should realise that the only way of tackling the problems it creates was through intense and decisive dialogue based on UN resolutions and EU principles.

Instead of engaging in dialogue, as the international community calls her to do, Turkey deliberately avoids doing so, in order to create new fait accomplis, the presidency said.

Later in the day EU Commission Vice-President Federica Mogherini said Turkey’s plans to launch a second hydrocarbon drill off the coast of Cyprus was a grave concern and an unacceptable escalation which violated the sovereignty of the Republic.

She called on Ankara to refrain from such actions, act in a spirit of good neighbourliness and respect the sovereignty and sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus in accordance with international law. “This second planned drilling operation, two months after the start of the ongoing drilling operations west of Cyprus, is a further unacceptable escalation which violates the sovereignty of Cyprus,” Mogherini said.

She recalled that on June 20, the European Council mandated the Commission and the EEAS to present options to the Council for appropriate measures. “The European Union will respond appropriately and in full solidarity with Cyprus,” Mogherini said.

Haravgi reports that Moscow too expressed concerns over the situation. The Russian Foreign Ministry said that any violation of Cyprus’ sovereignty can only hinder conditions for a durable, viable and fair resolution of the Cyprus issue. It also said there was need to relaunch the negotiating process on a settlement in Cyprus as soon as possible, Haravgi reported. 

The daily also said that the country is under siege by the Yavuz and the Fatih.

Phileleftheros reports that the Yavuz is running out of support vessels as two of the three ships there will not be assisting the Turkish drillship in Cypriot waters.

The daily said one of the two companies whose vessels offer support services to the Yavuz, Dutch Vroon Offshore Services, told Phileleftheros that, being aware of the political sensitivities between Turkey and Cyprus, its two vessels, the VOS PRIME and the VOS PRINCE, would not support the drillship’s operation within Cypriot waters. The daily also contacted Singapore-based PACC Offshore Services that owns the third support vessel, the POSH SINCERO, but which did not respond before the paper went to print.

The response by the Dutch company, obviously brings new obstacles to the drilling schedule, at least for the next few days, Phileleftheros said.

Politis reports that Turkey has surrounded Cyprus and is attempting to have full control of every activity in the Cypriot EEZ since yesterday when its second drillship, the Yavuz, arrived off Karpasia.

KEY ACTORS
Republic of Cyprus
>>
Strongly condemns Turkey’s move to dispatch a second drillship to the island’s EEZ which it sees as a very serious violation of international law & of its sovereignty & right to explore and exploit its natural resources.
>> Ankara, that deliberately avoids talks with the aim of creating new fait accompli, should realise that the only way of tackling the problems she creates is through intense and decisive dialogue based on UN resolutions and EU principles.
>> On one hand, Turkey refuses to recognise the RoC which has signed agreements with neighbouring countries and on the other, she cites international law and claims to be acting with the permission of an illegal occupation regime.

Mogherini (EU)
>>
Gravely concerned over Turkey’s plans for second drilling which is an unacceptable escalation which violates the sovereignty of the RoC.
>> Calls on Ankara to refrain from such actions, act in a spirit of good neighbourliness and respect the sovereignty and sovereign rights of the RoC in accordance with international law.
>> Warns that the EU will respond appropriately and in full solidarity with Cyprus.

Russia
>> Concerned over Turkish moves since any violation of Cyprus’ sovereignty hinders conditions for a durable, viable and fair solution to the Cyprob.
>> Talks must be relaunched.


AKEL: ToR process has failed and must be aborted

Alithia, Haravgi, Phileleftheros, Politis
Negotiations Process

OVERVIEW

The dailies report on the spat between the government and main opposition AKEL over who’s to blame on the lack of mobility on the Cyprus problem.

AKEL, commenting on the interview of Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides published by Kathimerini on Sunday, said the government has yet to agree to the relaunch of the talks from where they left off in Crans Montana as per the demand of the UN Secretary-General.

AKEL spokesman Stefanos Stefanou called on Christodoulides not to declare that the UNSG had requested new ideas. It is our side that put them on the table, he said and called on the government to set them aside to avert the promotion of Turkey’s strategic goal, the partition of the island.

Stefanou also said that the effort to agree on terms of reference for the resumption of talks, which were supposed to include these new ideas, has failed and must be abandoned.

The only thing achieved is prolonging the standstill and promoting  Turkey’s goal of partition, Stefanou said. He said the only way to avert this goal is the relaunch of the talks, given the Turkish illegal activities in the Cypriot EEZ stop.

In response, Government spokesman Prodromos Prodromou said that the interruption of talks in Crans Montana and the reason they have yet to restart is because of Turkey.

Prodromou said that Turkey is trying to create a crisis in the Cypriot waters by questioning the Republic’s sovereign rights because it seeks linking natural gas with the solution of the Cyprus problem. AKEL is the only party failing to understand this reality, he said, according to the papers.

KEY ACTORS
Stefanou (AKEL)
>>
The government has yet to agree to the relaunch of the talks from where they left off in Crans Montana as per the demand of the UN Secretary-General.
>> The government should stop declaring Anastasiades’ ideas were in response to the request by the UNSG since it is the GC side that put them on the table on its own but must abandon them to avert the promotion of Turkey’s strategic goal which is the partition of the island.
>> The effort to reach ToR has failed and must be abandoned since only helped prolong the standstill & promote Turkey’s goal of partition.
>> Relaunch of the talks is the only way to avert partition but talks must start after Turkey stops its illegal activities in the Cypriot EEZ.

Prodromou
>>
Turkey is to blame both for the interruption and failure to restart talks as yet.
>> AKEL is the only party failing to see that Turkey is trying to create a crisis in the Cypriot waters in a bid to question the RoC’s sovereign rights because it wants to link natural gas with the solution of the Cyprob.


Mobile telephony CBM into the final stretch

Alithia, Haravgi, Phileleftheros, Politis
CBMs, External Security

OVERVIEW

Mobile telephony interoperability between the divide is expected to be achieved soon as the two sides are close to the CBM’s implementation, the papers report.

Citing a report by the Cyprus News Agency (CNA), the papers said that the CBM in question will be be among the issues to be discussed on Wednesday during the separate meetings of the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative in Cyprus Elizabeth Spehar with the two leaders.

Sources told the CNA the two communities are very close to implementing the CBM on mobile telephony with mainly technical checks pending.
  
According to the papers, the two sides are even much closer now to the implementation of the mobile telephony CBM after developments in the TC side with regard to the pricing, so that the cost will not be prohibitive.

CNA reported that the aim, especially on the part of the UN Mission to Cyprus, was to have this CBM implemented in June, so that this development would be mentioned in the UNSG’s report on UNFICYP. The report, due to be released on July 10, is now expected to take note of the progress made towards the implementation of the measure, CNA reported according to the papers.   


Bus carrying resistance fighters during 1974 coup restored as museum exhibit

Cyprus Mail, Haravgi
Human Rights

OVERVIEW

The papers report that the National Guard on Monday handed over to Paphos Mayor Phedonas Phedonos a restored bus, which had been used to transport resistance fighters from Paphos to Limassol during the July 15,1974 coup.

The bus was among a number of other vehicles that had moved fighters to Limassol at the time and was shot at by coupists near Kolossi. Two men died from the shots, Demetris Zinieris and Rodosthenis Alexandrou.

The vehicle, dubbed as the ‘Resistance Bus’, was sent by the Paphos municipality to the National Guard’s technical department for restoration in a bid to help preserve the memory.

The Resistance Bus will be used as a museum exhibit, the papers reported.


Akinci openly scorned by Ankara

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

OVERVIEW

Following an announcement on Monday by the spokesman of TC leader Mustafa Akinci, Baris Burcu, explaining why Turkey’s vice president Fuat Oktay did not meet with Akinci during his visit to the island last week, the dailies report that Ankara is openly scorning him. Oktay met with only with ‘prime minister’ Ersin Tatar.

According to Burcu, Akinci had maintained a relationship based on mutual respect with Turkey since the first day he assumed ‘office’ and that all state, government officials as well as members of the opposition from Turkey were always welcome to meet with him

Burcu said Oktay had not requested to meet Akinci during his latest visit but had asked for a meeting to be scheduled when he returned later this month for the July 20 “celebrations”.

Alithia had the story as its main article. Under the title, ‘Akinci is persona non grata for Ankara’, the daily reports that Turkey now openly shows she does not want Mustafa Akinci. The goal is now to have Kudret Ozersay, who had declared that the solution to the Cyprus problem is partition and two states, elected as ‘president’ in the next ‘presidential’ elections in March, the daily said.

Phileleftheros reports that the Turkish vice president has ignored Akinci and that it seems that there is an underground warfare going on at the TC leader’s expense.

The Cyprus Mail reports that Akinci was sidelined again by Ankara as per his spokesman.


Morphou Bishop predicts Cyprob future

Alithia, Haravgi
External Security

OVERVIEW

The dailies report each in their own comment sections that Bishop of Morphou Neophytos, using predictions, said last week during an event in Dhali that orthodoxy would prevail on the island.

Alithia reports that the bishop, mainly based on the prophesies of Monk Paisios, said that even though things will be difficult for three days due to the nuclear bombs the US will throw in Turkey, we will be rid of them once and for all. He also said that two ministers had asked him to tell them his prophecies.

According to Haravgi, the event was attended by the wife of the foreign minister who is a member of the president’s diplomatic office and who was invited there. The diplomat was politely nodding her head while the bishop was telling his prophecies, the daily said.

Haravgi said that perhaps the reason the government’s policy is so out of place, is because they actually believe these prophecies that a ‘blond nation’ will rescue Hellenism, and that is why they are leading Guterres on and are trying so hard to be on the side of Israel and the US.

But we can place bets on the fulfillment of these prophecies at the casinos in Varosha when the town becomes Turkey’s Las Vegas, Haravgi said.