GCC Press Review 10 Sep 2019

Front Page Headlines


Stylianos was dying every day at the farm

The 15-year-old’s death was not ‘unnatural’, it was a crime. His father slaughtered his favourite lamb in front of him as punishment. He was chasing the mother with a syringe they were using at the farm for the animals.

  • Cavusoglu: Political equality first


Heavy responsibilities of (state) services

They knew the situation of the 14-year-old. Shocking report to the police months ago. Tomorrow a proposal (will be tabled) by (Labour Minister) Zeta Emilianidou to the cabinet for a probe by the ombudswoman against everyone responsible.

  • First political equality and natural gas and then talks – Cavusoglu has set the course.
  • Puppets… of the grand sultan – Great upset in the occupied areas (over who came up with the natural gas proposal).
  • Second permit for the Akkuyu nuclear station – Turkish pressure for the completion of the first reactor by 2023. Erdogan aspires to present it at the anniversary for the 100 years since the establishment of the Turkish Republic.


The state mental health services (are housed) in a dump

It’s the last straw for state hospital doctors, said yesterday the head of Pasyki (state doctors’ union) Soteris Koumas, mentioning the union could not sit idly by when faced with problems. The problems plaguing the hospitals have not been resolved, on the contrary, he said, they are getting worse.

  • (Cavusoglu-Akinci) They called for political equality
  • €7.5m from the state coffers for 722 priests

Cyprus Mail

Learn to share warns Turkey

Cavusoglu launches full frontal attack over gas and political equality.


First a five-party (conference) and then the Terms of Reference

Cavusoglu changes the road map agreed by the two leaders and the UN. He says we must make clear and agree at the informal five-party conference on what type of solution we are after and then we can deal with the Terms of Reference. We are not going to open-ended negotiations, reiterates Akinci.

  • Government: The ‘consulate’ in Famagusta is a secessionist act

Main News

Prodromou: Turkey is manipulating the TCs

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


The visit by Turkish Foreign Minister to the north Mevlut Cavusoglu and the government’s reaction to his statements was among the main items in the papers on Tuesday.

In the meantime, President Nicos Anastasiades will have a meeting with Greek Prime Minister Kyriacos Mitsotakis on Tuesday noon in Athens for coordination ahead of expected developments on the Cyprus problem.

According to the papers, after a meeting between Cavusoglu and TC leader Mustafa Akinci, the Turkish minister reiterated Turkey’s position that there would be no talks without TC political equality and that Anastasiades had told him during the talks in Crans-Montana in 2017 that the sides should look at a two-state solution.

He also called on the GC side to accept the proposal for a committee to jointly manage hydrocarbons “before it is too late”, adding that it was still on the table. He also dismissed Anastasiades’ counter-proposal on natural gas as “non-serious”.

Cavusoglu also said, according to the dailies, that if the GCs want to share power and prosperity with the TCs on the basis of political equality, this will be first agreed on the basis of principles and then the negotiations will begin.

Akinci also stressed the importance of political equality and argued that the effective participation of both parties in decisions is important. The TC leader added that as regards the talks, they cannot be open-ended.

He also said that either all sides will stay away from natural gas exploration activities until a solution is reached, or they could form a joint committee and work together. If not, then the two sides will go their separate ways, he said.

Alithia reported that after wrapping up with contacts, Cavusoglu, escorted by the designated ‘tour guide’, ‘foreign minister’ Kudret Ozersay, visited on Monday afternoon the closed-off town of Varosha before his departure from the island.

Government spokesman Prodromos Prodromou said Cavusoglu’s statements during the visit showed beyond a doubt that Turkey was responsible for the stagnation of the talks’ process, preventing the UN chief from relaunching negotiations.

“With his statements, Mr Mevlut Cavusoglu does not hide the fact that he manipulates the TC community and at the same time he attempts to blow up the whole effort to restart the negotiations, without failing to blame the GC side in an absolutely unsubstantiated manner.”

He also said the claim that the GC side should accept in advance the unrealistic Turkish claim for political equality for the TCs was the exact opposite of the political will for creative negotiations and was a blatant attempt to pre-empt talks.

“Turkey certainly appears to be unprepared to engage on the basis of international law and the commonly accepted rules of international conduct.”

Prodromou also said Cavusoglu was attempting “to sow discord and suspicion” within the GC side with his “unsubstantiated allegations”. He also said that the Turkish side’s attempt, once again, to divert the negotiations by making it into a debate about its attempts to usurp the natural wealth of Cyprus was extremely counterproductive.

“It should also be stressed that his offensive references to the President of the Republic of Cyprus only serves to further expose Turkey,” he concluded.

According to Politis and Phileleftheros, the foreign ministry said the intention to open a Turkish ‘consulate’ in Famagusta was a very serious secessionist move and in breach of relevant UN resolutions, in particular, Security Council Resolution 550, which, among other things, “condemns all secessionist actions, including the alleged exchange of ambassadors between Turkey and the TC leadership.”

This move is being added to previous provocative actions by Turkey and ‘officials’ of the occupation regime in relation to Famagusta, but also in general, the ministry said.

For Nicosia, this behaviour is indicative of an effort by Turkey aimed at provoking new unacceptable faits accomplis and undermines the prospect of reopening the Cyprus process as part of the UN Secretary-General’s Good Offices mission, it said, according to Phileleftheros.

Phileleftheros reported that Cavusoglu’s visit has set the framework within which the Turkish side would act.

His statements were an attempt to torpedo the efforts for the relaunch of the talks and at the same time safeguard political equality of the TCs as Turkey and the TCs interpret it, as well as secure the benefits from the exploitation of natural gas while enforcing Akinci’s proposal on the sharing of natural gas, the daily reported.

According to the daily, Nicosia believes that Cavusoglu’s visit to the occupied areas and the announcement of opening a ‘consulate’ in Famagusta was aimed at showing Ankara’s support to ‘foreign minister’ Kudret Ozersay ahead of the upcoming so-called elections in the TC community.

A diplomatic source told the daily that Nicosia will not engage in a blame game but had what had been agreed between the two leaders at the August 9 meeting been implemented, there could have been an agreement on the Terms of Reference.

Politis said that Cavusoglu’s presence in the occupied areas set a clear tone as regards what the Turkish side is after ahead of the procedure for the resumption of the talks.

The daily, citing analysts, reported that the pre-negotiation stage is expected to be a very difficult one since Turkey is attempting to secure commitments ahead of the actual negotiation.       

The papers also report on the dispute that was sparked by Cavusoglu’s statements that the proposal Akinci submitted to the GC side on the co-management of natural gas was created by Ozersay, prompting the TC leader to say that the proposal has been on the table since 2011, but that he did not agree with giving control to the companies as per the ‘government’s’ request but for control to remain under UN supervision.

In the meantime, Turkey’s Ambassador to Athens, Burak Ozugergin, said during an interview with the Greek daily Ta Nea, that the GC side is to blame for all the problems plaguing the island by violating the rights of the TCs, the papers reported.

He also said that some of the offshore blocks claimed by the Republic of Cyprus fall within the Turkish continental shelf. The Ambassador said that Turkey cannot take the RoC to court because Ankara does not recognise it but at the same time, Turkey must not be blamed for launching operations in its own continental shelf, the dailies reported.

Cavusoglu (Turkey)
GCs must agree to TC political equality before talks can resume.
>> Rejects Anastasiades’ counter-proposal on natural gas & warns GCs to accept Akinci’s proposal instead before it’s too late.

Political equality is essential.
>> The talks cannot drag on forever.
>> Either two sides refrain from natural gas exploration until a solution or they cooperate based on TC proposal on joint committee on natural gas. If not, then each will go their separate ways.

Turkey is responsible for stagnation of talks’ process & prevents UNSG from relaunching talks, while turning negotiations process into a debate on its attempts to usurp Cyprus’ natural wealth.
>> Cavusoglu trying to blow up whole effort by manipulating the TCs, blaming the GCs & attempting to sow discord and suspicion within the GC side with unsubstantiated allegations.
>> Accepting in advance the unrealistic Turkish claim for TC political equality is against allowing political will for creative negotiations & a blatant attempt to preempt talks.

Foreign Ministry (RoC)
Turkey’s intention to open a ‘consulate’ in Famagusta is a very serious secessionist action &  yet another provocative action by Turkey and TC ‘officials’ in relation to Famagusta, but also in general.
>> Nicosia believes this is part of Turkey’s efforts to provoke new unacceptable faits accomplis & to undermine the prospect of reopening the Cyprus process within UN parameters.

Burak Ozugergin (Turkish Ambassador to Athens)
>> Some of the offshore blocks claimed by RoC fall within the Turkish continental shelf.
>> Turkey cannot take the RoC to court because Ankara does not recognise the RoC, but at the same time, Turkey must not be blamed for launching operations in its own continental shelf.

GC parties condemn Famagusta ‘consulate’ move

Cyprus Mail, Haravgi, Phileleftheros, Politis
Negotiations Process, Regional/International Relations


According to the papers, all political parties issued statements against the announcement by Cavusoglu on the establishment of a ‘consulate’ in Famagusta while the opposition called on the government to be more proactive.

Leader of ruling DISY Averof Neophytou said the party condemns Turkey’s continuing challenges in Cyprus and called for GC unity to meet the current Turkish challenges. He said the only way to face these challenges was through Cyprus negotiations. Turkish provocations were a message “that we must all take into account in Cyprus, to find ways to become one body and to speak with one voice”.

Main opposition AKEL also referred to the ‘consulate’ move as a provocation. “This is a new illegality and challenge at the expense of Cyprus and international law,” party spokesman Stefanos Stefanou said. He said it undermined even further efforts to resume substantive negotiations. “Akel reiterates that the two leaders must remain focused on trying to start meaningful negotiations on the agreed basis of the bizonal bicommunal federation with political equality, as set out in the relevant UN Security Council resolutions,” said Stefanou.

He spoke of the failure last week of the two sides to reach a deal on the terms of reference for new talks, saying it should not have been a difficult task to accomplish, given previous convergences between the two sides. “We reiterate that the prolonged negotiations gap coupled with Turkey’s despotism makes it easier for the occupying power to inflict new serious casualties on Cyprus and its people,” Stefanou added.

DIKO called for a serious reaction to what it called as “the highlight of Turkish intransigence” and called on the GC negotiation team to engage in self-criticism.

Inconsistency, backtracking and constant concessions without getting anything in exchange have emboldened Turkey to a point where it takes the GC side’s willingness to yield as a given.

The failed politics of recent years has led from one failure to another and from one impasse to another, the party said.

DIKO considers that inflicting real political and economic costs to Turkey, an effort which despite the government’s declarations remained only in its initial stages, must be repeated and this time followed through to the end.

EDEK said that the announcement on the establishment of a ‘consulate’ in Famagusta was another step towards bringing settlers into Varosha. The party accused the government of encouraging Turkish provocations by being tolerant of such moves and by constantly backing down.

The Solidarity Movement called on the government to report Turkey internationally, including over the illegal operation of Tymbou airport and the occupied ports.

According to the Greens, Cavusoglu’s statements clarify Turkey’s positions as regards guarantees and troops. The party also said the National Council ought to convene for a briefing on Lute’s latest mission in Cyprus and how the Turkish actions in Famagusta are being dealt with.

The Citizens’ Alliance said it was about time for the GCs to shed the illusion that Turkey wants a solution and that it is ready to compromise.

Far-right ELAM asked whatever happened to the notorious EU measures which the government was allegedly demanding to be imposed on Turkey.

The party also said it would like to know why the government has not reported Turkey yet to the UN and the Security Council over its constant expansionist moves.

Neophytou (DISY)
Calls for unity among GCs & for negotiations to resume to meet Turkish provocations.

Stefanou (AKEL)
The intention to set up a ‘consulate’ in Famagusta is a challenge at the expense of Cyprus and international law & undermines efforts to resume talks.
>> Calls on the two leaders to remain focused on starting meaningful negotiations based on the BBF with political equality, warning that as the standstill is prolonged Turkey will keep finding new ways to harm Cyprus and its people.
>> It should not be difficult to reach an agreement on the ToR given previous convergences between the two sides.

 Wants the RoC to respond appropriately to Turkish intransigence.
>> Inconsistency, backtracking and constant concessions in the negotiations without getting anything in exchange made Turkey believe the GC side will always back down.
>> Calls on government to resume and follow through to the end its strategy aimed at causing real political & economic costs to Turkey.

 Believes ‘consulate’ announcement is aimed at bringing in settlers to Varosha.
>>  It is the government that encouraged such Turkish actions by exhibiting tolerance and constantly backing down.

Solidarity Movement
Wants the government to report Turkey including for the illegal operation of the Tymbou airport and the occupied ports.

Cavusoglu’s statements are an indication of Turkey’s positions on guarantees and troops.

Citizens’ Alliance
Cavusoglu’s statements were a wake-up call for the GCs to stop believing Turkey wants a solution & that it is ready to compromise.

Wants to know what happened to the EU measures against Turkey the government was allegedly demanding.
>> Asks why government has not reported Turkey yet to the UN & the Security Council over her constant expansionist moves.

‘Religious leaders need to be heard’

Human Rights


The daily reports that the Executive Director of the Religious Track on the Cyprus Peace Process (RTCYPP) office, Salpy Eskidjian Weiderud, called for cooperation with the religious leaders of the island because they also do their own bit for the peace process in Cyprus.

Citing an interview of Weiderud, with the Cyprus News Agency (CNA), Alithia reported that the facilitator of the dialogue argued that the religious leaders of Cyprus need to be heard and their proposals should be taken into consideration. “They entered into a discussion, they made concrete proposals but neither the faith communities nor women’s groups nor others followed up on those statements to turn them into action,” she added.
Weiderud, who is a recipient of the 2019 International Religious Freedom Award, stressed that religious freedom must not be a hostage of the Cyprus talks, the daily reported.
According to Weiderud, the tipping point of the RTCYPP, which started 10 years ago, was when the religious leaders started to advocate for each other’s rights, meet each other with respect and as brothers.
“Religion cannot be divided. Religious leaders should not be divided. We will always have churches and mosques at both sides of the divide. For faith communities these places will always be sacred. Ignoring this reality and disrespecting the rights of religious communities will only be an obstacle to peacebuilding,” she said.
She argued that advancing religious freedom, the way the RTCYPP is doing it, would only help the peace process since religious leaders can tangibly contribute to the peace process and can play a very significant role in truth and reconciliation processes.

Prior to the establishment of the Religious Track 10 years ago, issues of religious freedom became obstacles instead of promoting a peace agreement while there was a lack of religious literacy and real understanding of religious freedom, she said.

She noted that the religious leaders “have made some historic joint statements on the missing, on violence against women, on terror attacks and have welcomed the talks to reach a comprehensive agreement for the bi-zonal, bicommunal federation.”
Weiderud also said that there are areas in which the religious leaders want to do more together, like on refugees, victims of trafficking and the missing. 

She added that the Cypriot society should see that the RTCYPP, held under the auspices of the Swedish Embassy in Cyprus, is not something to fear, as it is not about promoting religion but about advancing religious freedom.
US Ambassador to Cyprus, Judith Garber told CNA that when the US Secretary of State Pompeo read about the work that Weiderud was doing and what was happening with the Religious Track, he decided to give one of the awards to her as the only awardee in Europe.
The Ambassador noted that through their cooperation, the religious leaders of Cyprus have been able to increase access to religious sites for religious communities on both sides of the buffer zone, the daily reported. 

Efforts to improve Technical Committees’ operations

Haravgi, Phileleftheros
CBMs, EU Matters


The dailies report that negotiator Andreas Mavroyiannis discussed in a meeting with the GC heads and members of the bi-communal Technical Committees on Monday ways to enhance and support their work.

The aim of the meeting was to coordinate actions and exchange views on how to deal with issues the Technical Committees are facing. Participants also took stock of the work throughout 2019 so far and laid the foundations for a more active involvement in the future, the papers reported.

During the meeting, the negotiator also briefed participants on the latest developments regarding the Cyprus problem. They also discussed the issues each Technical Committee is facing, the need for administrative support and ways to make use of the EU support to the bi-communal Technical Committees, to the tune of €1m for the 2019-2020 period.

At present, the absorption of funds is at an early stage and is considered satisfactory, however more Technical Committees need to learn how to make use of the money that is available, the dailies reported.

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