GCC Press Review 3 Sep 2019

Front Page Headlines

Politis

A third half-time for the Terms of Reference

Jane Holl Lute will have new meetings with Anastasiades and Akinci within the day. Ready for a tripartite meeting but also for appealing to the Security Council on Varosha. Pressure on Turkey to end violations in the Cypriot EEZ (exclusive economic zone).

Phileleftheros

The ball is now in Guterres’ court

The leaders found the basis for the Terms of Reference and are waiting for an invitation. The UN Secretary-General will decide on the next steps. Today the political leadership is being briefed at the Presidential Palace.

  • Appeal to the UN on Famagusta

Haravgi

There is still a long way to go until substantive talks

The mission of the UNSG special envoy Jane Holl Lute seems to have at least this time concluded with an agreement by the two sides on the Terms of Reference. It concerns what has been agreed by the two leaders as a minimum common denominator, meaning the February 2014 Joint Declaration, the Guterres Framework and convergences up to Crans-Montana.

  • The new Famagusta mayor is visiting Brussels regarding developments on Varosha

Cyprus Mail

Envoy stays on for more talks

‘Good reason to hope’ that agreement can be reached on terms of talks

  • Veteran politicians join forces to fight for BBF solution

Alithia

The Terms of Reference are progressing but the talks are being delayed

Messages by Anastasiades: We will not negotiate under the threat of gunboats. Lute is staying and is meeting again in the morning, for a third consecutive day, with President Anastasiades and in the afternoon with Mustafa Akinci, who does not want substantive negotiations during the election campaign in the occupied areas. Developments (are expected) after the elections in the occupied areas.

  • Erdogan: Turkey is a guarantor power and thus has the right to be present in the Eastern Mediterranean
  • Yes, we have been approached by foreigners who want to buy GC property in Famagusta – Involvement of Russian and Chinese companies that seem to cooperate with Turkish and/or TC companies.
  • ‘Peace Decision’ initiative for dialogue on BBF (bi-zonal, bi-communal federation)

Main News

ToR in sight but no actual talks as yet

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

OVERVIEW

UN special envoy Jane Holl Lute has extended her stay on the island for another day for a third meeting with the two leaders, seeing that the two sides are close to agreeing on the Terms of Reference (ToR) for the resumption of talks, all papers report on Tuesday.

Later on Tuesday, after Lute’s meeting with Anastasiades, the Cyprus Mail online reported the UN official would stay in Cyprus another day on Wednesday to meet again with the leaders.

But even if the ToR are drafted this does not mean substantive talks will follow soon as the GC side wants Turkey to stop violating Cyprus’ EEZ first while the TC side is unlikely to engage in the procedure during the ‘presidential election’ campaign.

According to the dailies, Lute is holding separate meetings with the leaders for the third day in a row as part of her mandate to help the two sides strike an agreement on the ToR.

 “There seems to be good reason to hope that there are grounds for us to agree on the terms of reference,” Government Spokesman, Prodromos Prodromou said on Monday after Lute’s meeting with Anastasiades.

Prodromou said there were other factors involved in the whole process and that Lute would also be consulting the guarantor powers Greece and Turkey.

Most papers also report that President Nicos Anastasiades said during an interview with Alpha TV, aired on Monday, that the ToR could lead to a meeting with the UN Secretary-General towards the end of the month in New York though this was not enough to allow the recommencement of the talks.

For substantive dialogue to resume, Turkish provocations must end first, since “no serious leader or people would negotiate under the threat of gunboats and while violations are underway and agree under blackmail what the powerful side is dictating,” he said.

He also said that the actions by TC ‘prime minister’ Ersin Tatar and ‘foreign minister’ Kudret Ozersay affect the climate negatively since they send out the message that Ankara does not want the effort on the Cyprus problem to continue.

Anastasiades, who was to brief the National Council on Tuesday after his meeting with Lute, said he would be in Athens around September 10 for consultations with the Greek government ahead of the contacts he and Greek Prime Minister Kyriacos Mitsotakis would hold in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

Phileleftheros reported that the two leaders have agreed on the basis of the ToR and now it is up to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to decide if he would invite them to a joint meeting and if he would convene an informal five-party meeting.

Alithia, citing government sources, reported that it is expected that Lute will prepare a document on the ToR and submit it to Guterres who will discuss it with the guarantor powers and if they approve, an informal five-party meeting would take place towards the end of the year.

According to government information, the paper reports, TC leader Mustafa Akinci does not wish for the negotiations process to take place parallel to the election campaign in the occupied areas and for that reason, procedural matters are expected to stop by the end of December with substantive talks beginning in May 2020.

The government believes Akinci will win the elections since Ozersay seems to be losing ground, Alithia reported.

The dailies also report that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was quoted as saying at an event on Sunday night that Turkey did not have the luxury to sit back and watch events unfold in the Eastern Mediterranean. He said Turkey would continue explorations off Cyprus adding that the entire island has rights in the Eastern Mediterranean but so did Turkey. Erdogan said that Turkey, as a guarantor force, has the right to be there, according to the dailies.

KEY ACTORS
Anastasiades
>>
Refuses to enter substantive dialogue unless Turkey ends provocations in EEZ arguing that no one would negotiate under these blackmailing conditions and under the threat of gunboats.
>> Feels Tatar-Ozersay’s actions send out the message Ankara is not willing to help in Cyprob efforts.

Erdogan (Turkey)
>>
Turkey will not be a mere spectator in the East Med.
>> The whole of Cyprus has rights in the East Med but so does Turkey which will continue gas explorations in the area.


Action against Turkish violations in Varosha

Alithia, Haravgi, Phileleftheros, Politis
Property, Regional/International Relations

OVERVIEW

The government but also the newly-elected Famagusta mayor announced on separate occasions they are taking initiatives to hinder Turkish plans concerning the closed-off town of Varosha, the dailies report.

 According to Phileleftheros, President Nicos Anastasiades said on Monday he has instructed Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides to look into the possibility, with the help of experts, of appealing to the UN against recent Turkish actions in Famagusta.

The papers also report that the same issue was raised on Monday with Christodoulides by the new Famagusta Mayor Simos Ioannou.

Ioannou was leading a delegation of the Famagusta municipality on a visit to Christodoulides to discuss the issue of Varosha. The delegation, expected to also meet Anastasiades, called on the state to support Varosha property owners and discussed with the minister the next steps as regards Turkish provocations.

After the meeting, Ioannou also called on refugees from Varosha not to sell their properties to foreign companies because this would end up being to the detriment of the struggle for their return to their town. He also called on the government to help all refugees so that they wouldn’t have to resort to such a thing.

He said they also asked for help for their new info campaign and contacts they aim to hold in Brussels and in Cyprus with the ambassadors of EU member states.

Ioannou said that they have received reassurances that Anastasiades would raise the issue of Varosha during the UN General Assembly.

The Famagusta Municipality has also sent a letter to the five permanent members of the Security Council, he said.

Meanwhile, Alithia reported that Famagusta municipal councillor Nikos Karoulas confirmed reports that GC Varosha property owners have been approached mainly by Russian and Chinese companies that expressed interest in buying their property.

Karoullas told the daily that it seems these companies cooperate with Turkish and TC ones and would jointly utilise these properties if acquired.

The councillor said that the GC property owners were approached based on the land registry archives that were abandoned in Varosha in 1974. This means that TCs had cooperated with these companies to provide them with the details of the property owners which is disappointing, he said.

Karoullas also said that a similar situation occurs in the GC side whereby some lawyers approach TCs who have properties in the free areas and urge them to claim them so that they can sell them. That way, lawyers too end up with large financial gains, he said, according to Alithia.


Bi-communal youth camp for peace and reconciliation ends successfully

Haravgi
Human Rights, CBMs

OVERVIEW

A two-day bi-communal youth event co-organised by AKEL’s youth branch EDON and the youth of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) was successfully completed for a third year in the row, the paper reports.

The event is part of the bi-communal youth exchange programme Reunite_cy launched by the youth branches of the two parties in 2016. The programme is aimed at bringing together youth from both sides of the divide as part of efforts for the reunification of the island.

The two-day camp event took place between August 30 and September 1 in Ayios Epiktitos in Kyrenia and brought together scores of young people from both sides.

During the camp event programme, the youth participated in a discussion on developments on the Cyprus problem and the importance of a federal solution led by AKEL general secretary Andros Kyprianou and head of CTP Tufan Erhurman.

A discussion also took place on the work of the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage led by the committee’s TC head Ali Tuncay.

During the camp musical events also took place and a game on jointly used words by both communities.

At the end of the programme, the two organisations symbolically planted an olive tree for peace and reunification, Haravgi reported.