GCC Press Review 26 July 2019

Front Page Headlines

Politis

They are recording Varosha (properties) while ignoring the UN Security Council

Renewal of UNFICYP’s mandate with appeal for cooperation between GCs-TCs at military level. The TC experts have entered Varosha to record properties and their condition. The Security Council is requesting the creating of cooperation mechanisms between the two sides.

  • Loud ‘No’ to Trangolas (for mayor) by Disy’s Famagusta municipal team

Phileleftheros

August 9 will be a barometer

The Anastasiades-Akinci meeting will define the future of the negotiations. Messages through the UNFICYP mandate.

  • They entered Varosha for inventory – Fanfare by Tatar-Ozersay.
  • Stella (Kyriakides) is the new EU Commissioner – The president has decided.

Haravgi

The margins are getting tighter on the Cyprob

Clear message by the Security Council on the basis of the Cyprus problem’s solution, stressing that it is none other than bicommunal, bizonal federation with political equality as described in the relevant resolutions. The UN Secretary-General Mr Guterres had a telephone conversation with the two leaders and is waiting for their response…

  • Celebrations by Tatar-Ozersay on Varosha

Cyprus Mail

Ozersay experts ‘inspect’ Varosha

TC ‘minister’ says it was first time in 45 years such a large delegation entered fenced-off area to check it.

Alithia

A catapult resolution

The UN Security Council responds to everyone on everything. The official guide of the UN Security Council: The solution is a bizonal, bicommunal federation; the basis is the six points of the Guterres Framework; the way is filling the gaps; the time is solution the soonest possible; natural gas for all within a solution.

  • The Committee has entered the town – Kudret Ozersay back in Varosha with military officials as his escort. We will gradually make the area part of people’s social life, said the so-called FM.
  • The letter to the UN Secretary-General released – The president’s response.
  • Occupied areas: Tatar and Ozersay inspected the closed-off Famagusta

Main News

Reactions to TC experts entering Varosha for inventory

Alithia, Cyprus Mail, Haravgi, Phileleftheros, Politis
Property, Negotiations Process

OVERVIEW

The visit by a team of experts in the closed-off town of Varosha on Thursday and statements that the town would gradually open is among the main items in papers on Friday.

The government said the move was a clear violation of all UN decisions.

Government spokesman Prodromos Prodromou said TC moves in the closed-off town of Varosha were a clear violation of UN resolutions and that such actions, part of a number taking place recently, do not create the necessary climate for the relaunch of talks.

While the UN Secretary-General asks and expects goodwill from both sides for a new effort, these kind of actions are a step in the opposite direction, he said.

“We hope the Turkish side, in its entirety, will finally act in such a way as to respond also to the call and the will of the President of the Republic for substantive talks,” he said.

Prodromou said that only substantive talks could prevent or stop the moves underway either by Turkey or the breakaway administration.

TC ‘foreign minister’ Kudret Ozersay announced he was entering Varosha with the group of experts arguing there was a need to update the records of the town.

Speaking to Turkish channel NTV, he said works were being sped up for the opening of Varosha. Before any moves are made, the experts will have to inspect the condition of properties that belonged to Greek Cypriots, he said, adding that the important thing was that they would carry out this inventory without violating the property rights of individuals, but also of EVKAF.

“After this research is completed, we will decide how Varosha will be a part of social life,” he said. He added that the closed-off town should not remain unutilised and a military area, while the people who have rights to their properties there have no connection. Depending on the results of the study, a decision will be made if this will take place gradually or on a one-off basis.

He later tweeted later that he was determined to make a change in an area that had become “a symbol of the status quo”.

Meanwhile ‘prime minister’ Ersin Tatar reiterated that Varosha would open under TC administration.

Ruling DISY said in an announcement that the move further burdens the negative climate on the Cyprus problem and does not convince on the intentions of the TC side.

EDEK said this move was unacceptable and in violation of all relevant UN Security Council resolutions that call for the return of Varosha to its legal residents.

The move confirms the goal of bringing in settlers to the town and the creation of a fait accompli.

The party called on the government to take financial and political measures against the occupation regime.

Phileleftheros reports that the pressure on the GC side on the issue of Famagusta has started.

According to Haravgi, Ozersay was celebrating the entrance of the team of experts in the closed-off town. Politis reported that the Tatar-Ozersay ‘government’ scheduled the entrance of the experts in Varosha on the day the UNFICYP mandate was renewed, while the government is a mere spectator

KEY ACTORS
Prodromou
>>
TC moves in Varosha are a clear violation of UN resolutions, do not help create a conducive climate for the relaunch of talks and are contrary to the calls by the UNSG for goodwill from both sides for a new effort.
>> Expresses hope the Turkish side will finally act in such a way as to match the call and the will of Anastasiades for substantive talks, which is the only way to prevent or stop the moves underway either by Turkey or the TCs.

Ozersay
>>
Plans to open Varosha as it can no longer remain unutilised or a military area while the people cannot access their properties.
>> The inventory will not violate the property rights of individuals or EVKAF.
>> The area is a symbol of the status quo and this must change.

Tatar
>>
Reiterates that Varosha will open under TC administration.

DISY
>>
Such actions add fuel to the negative climate on the Cyprob. TCs do not appear convincing regarding their good intentions.

EDEK
>>
Finds TC actions unacceptable & in violation of all relevant UNSC resolutions while providing proof there is a plan to bring in settlers to the town aiming to create a fait accompli.
>> Wants the government to take financial & political measures against occupation regime.


UNFICYP resolution shows the way forward on Cyprob

Alithia, Haravgi, Cyprus Mail, Phileleftheros, Politis
Negotiations Process, External Security, CBMs

OVERVIEW

The papers report that the Security Council on Thursday adopted by a unanimous vote Resolution 2483, renewing UNFICYP’s mandate for six more months. The papers also report on the provisions of the resolution, arguing that it sends clear messages to all sides.

The resolution urges the sides and all stakeholders to renew their political will and commitment to a settlement under UN auspices, including by engaging actively and with a sense of urgency with senior UN official, Jane Holl Lute, to achieve agreement on terms of reference to enable results-oriented negotiations leading to a settlement as quickly as possible.

It also urged the sides to renew their efforts to achieve an enduring, comprehensive and just settlement based on a bicommunal, bizonal federation with political equality, as set out in relevant Security Council resolutions and recalled the six points of the Secretary-General’s framework of June 30, 2017 as a way to move forward to close the remaining gaps.

The Security Council also called for speeding up of procedures for “the establishment of a mechanism for direct contacts at military level, and to continue to explore ways to establish mechanisms and enhance existing initiatives where necessary for effectively alleviating tensions, increasing joint efforts on criminal matters and to help address islandwide matters that affect all Cypriots.”

The resolution welcomes the recent progress towards the interoperability of mobile phones across the island and urges the implementation of all other agreed confidence-building measures (CBMs), including military CBMs.

It also expressed concern at the increased tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean over hydrocarbons exploration stressing it is convinced of the many important benefits, including economic benefits for all Cypriots that would flow from a comprehensive and durable settlement, and reiterates the Secretary-General’s call for serious efforts to avoid any further escalation and to defuse tensions.

According to Alithia, Politis and Phileleftheros government circles express satisfaction mainly for the renewal of UNFICYP’s mandate and the reconfirmation of all the resolutions adopted so far in Cyprus but also references to the form of solution. Positives also include the call for the restoration of the military status quo in Strovilia and references to resolutions on the special status of Varosha.

AKEL spokesman Stefanos Stefanou said the Security Council is sending a clear message as regards the basis of the solution, arguing that the reference to resolution 719 (1991) that defines what political equality is, is not random. It clearly recalls that positions that question this cannot be accepted, he said.

The fact that the two leaders were encouraged for the first time to submit in writing to the UN a report on their actions to support the references made in the latest resolution means that the margins are becoming tighter, he said.

DIKO and EDEK on the other hand, said they disagree with the Guterres Framework.

DIKO called for the National Council to convene arguing that the resolution overlooks Turkey’s illegal actions in the Cypriot EEZ since there is no reference to this except a general call to avoid tensions in the East Med.

 The party said the resolution established the Guterres Framework and its dangerous provisions, as the basis of any future negotiation.

EDEK too said the Guterres Framework cannot be the basis of the talks.

Politis reports that the UNFICYP mandate was renewed in anticipation of actions to solve the Cyprus problem while the Security Council’s position was clear on the form of solution and on political equality. The ball now is in the two leaders’ court since the UNSC, through its resolution, dissolved any excuse put forth by the sides on the solution parameters, it said.

According to Politis, the Council’s position is also clear in relation to the disagreement between the sides on political equality. It was not a random move to include a reference to Resolution 716 (1991), which refers in turn to Resolution 649 (1990), which states that while political equality does not mean equal numerical participation in all federal government departments and administration, it has to be reflected in different ways… with effective participation of both communities in all institutions and the decisions of the federal government, to ensure that the federal government does not adopt measures against any of the communities but also equality in the powers and functions of the two constituent states. TC leader Mustafa Akinci has included similar wording in his recent letter to Guterres, the daily reports.

Alithia reports that the final draft of the resolution that was expected to be approved without any changes, was like a direct response to discussions within the GC community but also between GCs and hardliner TCs and Ankara on the desired solution, even on the way the solution is to be achieved. For the first time, the Security Council is directly involved in the talks on the Cyprus problem, taking a clear stance and clearly pointing out an official Cyprob guide up to the next discussion on the renewal of UNFICYP’s mandate, the paper said.

According to Haravgi, the Security Council is sending a clear message as regards the basis of the solution stressing that it is none other than a bicommunal bizonal federation with political equality.

Haravgi, in an opinion piece, referring to the call for a mechanism for direct contacts at military level, reports that this was the first time the Security Council has requested such a thing, making things difficult for the GC side that is being called in essence to cooperate with the occupation army! This cannot be seen as anything else other than pressure on the GC side to intensify efforts at the negotiations table for a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem, the paper said.

KEY ACTORS
UN Security Council
>>
Calls on all sides to renew their political will and commitment to a settlement under UN auspices, and engage actively and with a sense of urgency with Lute, to achieve agreement on ToR to reach a BBF solution with political equality the soonest possible.
>> The six points of the Guterres Framework is a way to move forward to close the remaining gaps.
>> Calls on sides to speed up procedures to set up mechanisms for direct contacts at military level and to continue seeking ways to establish mechanisms and enhance existing initiatives for effectively alleviating tensions, increasing joint efforts on criminal matters and other issues affecting all Cypriots.
>> Welcomes mobile phone interoperability in two sides and calls for more CBMS, including military ones.
>> Concerned over increased tensions in the East Med over hydrocarbons exploration. A solution would yield many benefits for all Cypriots in this field.

Stefanou (AKEL)
>>
The SC is sending a clear message that the solution ought to be a BBF with political equality hence reference to the relevant resolution. In this way, it is basically saying it would not accept positions that call for other options.
>> Margins are getting tighter for Cyprob judging by fact the two leaders were asked for the first time to submit reports on what they have done to support what the SC asked for in order to reach a solution.

DIKO
>>
Unhappy by lack of references to Turkey’s actions in the EEZ and wants the National Council to convene.
>> Feels the resolution established the Guterres Framework and its dangerous provisions as the basis of any future negotiation.

EDEK
>>
The Guterres Framework cannot be the basis of the talks.


‘Anastasiades aims to bridge differences in ToR with Akinci’

Alithia, Cyprus Mail, Haravgi, Phileleftheros
Negotiations Process, Energy

OVERVIEW

The papers report that UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed the wish to hold a meeting in New York in September with Anastasiades and Akinci but that the government is focusing at the moment on the two leaders’ meeting on August 9.

After reports on Wednesday that the two leaders were meeting Guterres in New York in September, Government spokesman Prodromos Prodromou said on Thursday that Guterres told Anastasiades during a telephone conversation earlier in the week that he could arrange a meeting with the two leaders in September after the UN General Assembly and that Anastasiades is eyeing the idea positively.

At the moment a positive development we are looking forward to is the August 9 meeting, he said.

He added that it will be an informal meeting to discuss all those issues that have been described all this time as terms of reference by the UN to pave the way for the relaunch of the talks where they left off and based on the Guterres Framework.

Anastasiades’ aim is to bridge all differences on the issues that have been raised so far so that substantive talks can begin, he said.

According to Phileleftheros the informal meeting of the August 9 will be a sort of barometer on what’s to follow as regards the Cyprus problem and mainly the prospect of a meeting between Guterres, Anastasiades and Akinci since for the meeting in New York to take place, the two leaders will first need to ensure their own meeting does not lead to failure.

Citing diplomatic sources, the paper reports that this will depend on Akinci’s stance because if he goes to the meeting with Anastasiades demanding a joint committee on natural gas, it is not something that Anastasiades would agree to.

Meanwhile, Phileleftheros in another article reports that Cyprus, in a letter to the UN denounced Turkey’s actions in the Republic’s EEZ and made an appeal to Guterres to intervene so that Turkey stops and refrains from repeating these actions that are a violation of the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus and a security threat to the wider area.

The Cypriot government requests that Guterres conveys to the government of Turkey a clear message to comply with international law, to respect the sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction of the Republic of Cyprus and to refrain from any actions that do not favour the resumption of negotiations for the reunification of the Republic of Cyprus, the daily reported.

KEY ACTORS
Prodromou
>>
Anastasiades is positive to a meeting with Akinci and Guterres but at the moment his focus is on the August 9 meeting where he aims to bridge all differences in the ToR so that talks can resume where they left off and based on the Guterres Framework.

Republic of Cyprus
>>
Denounces Turkish actions in Cypriot EEZ as a violation of the RoC’s sovereign rights and a security threat in the wider area while also not favouring the resumption of talks.
>> Wants Guterres to intervene so that Turkey stops and refrains from repeating these actions and to call on her to comply with international law, respect the sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction of the RoC.


State aid to Strovilia families

Cyprus Mail, Phileleftheros
External Security, Economy

OVERVIEW

The dailies report that cabinet decided on Thursday to give three families in the Strovilia area of the buffer zone a monthly stipend of €500 due to the negative effects from the presence of the Turkish military.

Deputy government spokeswoman Klelia Vasiliou who made the announcement recalled a previous cabinet decision on June 18, on offering aid to 12 property owners due to the negative effects suffered by the presence of the occupation forces in the area.

Cyprus Mail reports that the spokeswoman did not say how the families were affected such as possibly having difficulty getting to work. Government spokesman Prodromos Prodromou was equally vague, the daily said. He told the Cyprus Mail later in the day: “The money is an allowance to help them overcome the financial burden caused due to the situation since they are experiencing difficulties in moving freely among other things.”

The paper recalls that earlier this year it was reported that the Turkish military had advanced in the Strovilia area and placed barrels, bars and chains to cut off an area where three GC families reside in three houses. Incursions began as far back as the year 2000 but had escalated between February 1 and 11 this year, ‘trapping’ the three families, the Cyprus Mail reports.


GC and TC educators narrate experience in promoting peace

Alithia, Haravgi, Phileleftheros
CBMs, Human Rights, EU Matters

OVERVIEW

According to the papers, GC and TC educators had the opportunity to share their efforts to build peace in Cyprus within the context of the 43rd International Institute for Peace Education which is taking place in the Nicosia buffer zone this week.

Among these examples was the bicommunal cooperation at the Home for Cooperation where the event took place. Co-President of the Association for Historical Dialogue and Research (AHDR) and board member of the Home for Cooperation Kyriakos Pachoulides outlined the idea behind the association’s establishment and the Home of Cooperation.  The association, he said, envisioned a society in which dialogue on issues of history, historiography, history teaching and history learning is welcomed as an integral part of democracy and is considered as a means for the advancement of historical understanding and critical thinking.

Showing photos from the 1960s where it is evident that the road outside the Home for Cooperation used to be a scene of armed conflict, he referred to the symbolic reason behind the decision to operate the Home for Cooperation in the buffer zone.

“We can build a better future for our children,” he said, adding: “Our decision was to change the ‘dead zone’ as it is known in the GC community and to transform it to a zone for cooperation.”

Huseyin Akansoy and Christos Efthymiou spoke of the work done by their bicommunal initiative “Together We Can”, which is a team of relatives of missing persons.

Akansoy said it was important that TCs and GCs were aware of each other’s pain, adding that the pain of relatives of missing persons is the same and has nothing to do with ethnicity.

Efthymiou said the initiative was a common platform of dialogue and action to raise public awareness regarding the events surrounding the violence which took place in the past and work towards minimising the exploitation of common suffering to promote nationalism.

Zuhal Mustafaogullari and Stavros Stavrou spoke about their experience as teachers who took part in the project ‘Imagine’, a confidence-building measure that brings pupils from both communities together.

Mustafaogullari who teaches history in Famagusta, said that the project was a dream which would become reality with difficulty and that when it was announced everyone wanted to take part and they had to have a draw. In the end, it was an outstanding day, she said, adding that on the way back in the bus the students were singing songs of peace. She said it was important for the programme to continue and to even have exchange programmes between schools.

Stavrou who teaches in a lyceum in Paphos said that many GC pupils have never met TCs. He said that 25 of his school’s pupils participated in the programme. He said that he would not have believed it if he had been told before that in less than three hours the students would become friends.

Sener Elcil from KTOS union of TC teachers and Apostolos Skouroupatis on behalf of POED union of GC primary school teachers spoke of the cooperation between the unions and the work done to promote a culture of peace.

Head of the European Parliament’s office in Cyprus Andreas Kettis said in his address that in 2018, a total of 328 GC and TC high school students together with 47 accompanying teachers were given the opportunity to visit Strasbourg in the context of the Euroscola programme, by the European Parliament. The students, in essence, perform the duties of MEPs from all 28 EU member states. Teachers, he added, also have the opportunity to mingle and exchange best practices.

The meeting, that brings together 75 participants from 35 countries is organised by AHDR and the International Institute on Peace Education, under the auspices of the European Parliament President and supported by the office of the European Parliament in Cyprus while funded by the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the papers report.