GCC Press Review 11 Sep 2019

Front Page Headlines

Politis

Yet another probe (after standing) over a coffin

Instead of saving a life they are now trying to save appearances. There had been many reports to the police on family violence. The social welfare services were informed of Stylianos’ unacceptable living conditions.

  • And now we are off to New York – Joint course of action against Turkey. TC parties react to Cavusoglu’s statements on the Cyprus problem.
  • The road is open for LNG – No appeals to the reviewing authority.
  • Turkey: New party by Babacan

Phileleftheros

The social welfare services are hiding the file (concerning teen who committed suicide)

Police asked to have it and they refused. New shocking information; they knew since 2007. The minor’s father gave testimony and denies he mistreated the child. There had been 40 reports to the local police station over various incidents.

  • Joint course of action against Ankara
  • New discrimination against those who are refugees from their mother’s side – Their pre-2011 applications were rejected.
  • They promised them plots but gave them papers – Refugees were left hung out to dry.

Haravgi

Lives are being lost but the (state) services are absent

After every tragic event, a probe is launched that leads nowhere. Now a probe has been announced into the death of the 14-year-old pupil from Nicosia. The House labour committee was briefed on the matter yesterday. Shocking reports and admission regarding the criminal shortages at the state services.

  • All sides should respect the convergences
  • GCs and TCs on the restoration of Apostolos Andreas
  • They illegally terminated aid to refugees – The government acted illegally in the cases of refugees who were approved to receive plots and financial aid. Delays in the carving up and distribution of plots. They do not give refugee aid to those who are refugees from their mother’s side.

Cyprus Mail

Probe: did state fail dead teen?

Family was known to government services, House hears.

  • Joint course of action – During a meeting in Athens, President Nicos Anastasiades and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Tuesday agreed on a joint course of action to deal with illegal activities by Turkey in the island’s exclusive economic zone and plans to open the fenced-off area of Varosha to development.
  • Italian navy ship docks in Limassol for exercise

Alithia

Second big step

GESY is getting ready to welcome also the big private hospitals. After tomorrow’s meeting of clinic owners with President Anastasiades, the HIO (Health Insurance Organisation) will call them for consultations aimed at reaching an agreement.

  • Greece and Cyprus: Absolute will for the relaunch of the talks
  • (DISY leader) Averof (Neophytou) VS Cavusoglu: The solution is the BBF (bizonal bicommunal federation), there’s no need to clarify
  • (Negotiator) Andreas Mavroyiannis: The Turks want to change the status quo in Famagusta

Main News

Athens-Nicosia joint front against Turkish illegalities

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

OVERVIEW

President Nicos Anastasiades’ visit to Greece and the agreement between Nicosia and Athens on a joint course of action to tackle Turkey’s provocations is reported in all papers on Wednesday.

Anastasiades was in the Greek capital on Tuesday for a meeting with Prime Minister Kyriacos Mitsotakis.

According to a joint statement following their meeting, Anastasiades and Mitsotakis expressed the common position that Turkey should end her illegal actions in Cyprus’ sea area and plans concerning the closed-off town of Varosha and contribute to the creation of a suitable climate for Cyprus talks.

They agreed on joint actions to counter the illegal Turkish ones.

They also expressed their willingness to work with the UN as part of the initiative by the UN Secretary-General “to relaunch substantive negotiations on the overall settlement of the Cyprus issue.”

Mitsotakis said Anastasiades’ visit was symbolic as he was the first head of state he had received at the Maximos Mansion.

“Welcome to your home,” Mitsotakis told Anastasiades in his greeting, according to Phileleftheros.  

The papers report that prior to his meeting with Anastasiades the Greek prime minister said this was a sensitive turning point in the Cyprus issue.

“Our concern is to end the occupation and the unacceptable status of guarantees,” Mitsotakis said, adding that the obstacles set by the Turkish side did not help secure progress.

Anastasiades said Turkey wants to control the TC community even after the solution.

While the conditions had been created for the Terms of Reference, Monday’s statement by the Turkish foreign minister raised concerns about Ankara’s intentions, he said. He called Cavusoglu’s comments “unacceptable”.

In the meantime, Cavusoglu, according to the papers, reiterated on Tuesday that political equality, effective participation and a rotating presidency were red lines for Turkey and the TCs and that these should be formulated prior to restarting talks.

His comments stirred reactions by ruling DISY and main opposition AKEL.

AKEL spokesman Stefanos Stefanou said the Turkish statements undermine every effort to restart talks. He added that the issues Cavusoglu is pointing out have already been resolved.

According to Stefanou, the issue of political equality is basically solved. He referred to the UN Secretary-General’s September 2017 report. He called on Akinci to agree that one positive vote will be necessary only in some of the organs dealing with low-level politics and not all of them. He also called on Anastasiades to agree to the convergence that one positive vote will be required during decision making at cabinet level.

As regards natural gas, he referred Cavusoglu to the convergences on the EEZ, maritime areas and the distribution of proceeds.

On security and guarantees, Stefanou recalled the joint position by the UN, EU, Greece and the UK at the talks in Crans-Montana for the abolition of guarantees and intervention rights from the first day of the solution and quick withdrawal of the occupation troops, with the only issue pending being that of the Greek and Turkish contingents of Eldyk and Tourdyk.

If the Turkish foreign minister has a different opinion then he will find himself against the UN, EU and the other guarantor powers, Stefanou said, according to the papers.

DISY leader Averof Neophytou, who met with British High Commissioner Stephen Lillie on Tuesday, said afterwards that Cavusoglu’s statements should be viewed calmly. “We should make it clear to Mr Cavusoglu that the GC side has never abandoned the solution model as set out in all UN resolutions. It is Turkey’s actions that point to other paths not the positions of the Greek Cypriot side and President Anastasiades,” he said.

He added that the solution model sought remains that of the BBF and there was no need for a conference on that issue but one for reaching a solution based on the BBF.

The dailies also reported that some TC parties also reacted to Cavusoglu’s statements as well as the bicommunal peace initiative UniteCyprusNow (UCN).

UCN said that Cavusoglu’s statements further damaged prospects for talks, adding that the guarantor powers should contribute positively to the process and support the leaders instead of undermining them and their efforts.

It also reminded that both leaders had been elected with the promise to deliver a federal solution, finding it unacceptable that they were unable to reach a conclusion. “Cypriots deserve to live in a united country, a country that belongs to them and they should ultimately be the ones to determine its future,” the group said.

KEY ACTORS
Anastasiades-Mitsotakis
>>
Agree to launch joint actions to counter Turkish illegalities & willing to work with UN to relaunch talks for the Cyprob solution.
>> Call on Turkey to end her illegal actions in Cyprus’ sea and plans on Varosha, and help create a conducive climate for the talks.

Mitsotakis (Greece)
>>
Believes this is a sensitive turning point in the Cyprus issue & wants an end to the island’s occupation and the unacceptable status of guarantees.
>> The Turkish side is setting obstacles that do not help secure progress.

Anastasiades
>>
Turkey wants to control the TC community even after the solution.
>> Cavusoglu’s unacceptable statements raise concerns about Ankara’s intentions.
>> There was progress on the procedure on the ToR.

Cavusoglu
>>
There must be an agreement on political equality, TC effective participation and a rotating presidency before talks restart.

Stefanou (AKEL)
>>
The issues Cavusoglu is referring to have already been resolved.
>> Political equality basically solved. See UNSG’s September 2017 report.
>> Called on Akinci to accept that positive vote will be necessary only in some federal organs dealing with low-level political issues, not all.
>> Called on Anastasiades to accept convergence on positive vote at cabinet level.
>> On natural gas, see convergences on EEZ, maritime zones, & distribution of proceeds.
>> On security & guarantees, UN, EU, Greece & UK held joint position in Crans-Montana on abolition of guarantees & intervention rights from Day One of solution & swift withdrawal of occupation troops. Only issue pending there was on ELDYK & TOURDYK.

Neophytou (DISY)
>>
 No need for a conference to decide which type of solution is preferable since for the GCs, it is still the BBF. What’s necessary is a conference for reaching a solution based on the BBF.


‘Turkey plans massive development in Varosha and surrounding area’

Alithia
Negotiations Process, Property, Regional/International Relations

OVERVIEW

Alithia reports that negotiator Andreas Mavroyiannis said Turkey, in cooperation with Turkish businessmen, wants to change the status quo of the closed-off town of Varosha

Citing Mavroyiannis’ interview with Alpha TV, Alithia reported that the negotiator said behind the actions for the opening of Varosha lies a political decision aimed at changing the ghost town’s status quo.

He said this was a political decision by Turkey concerning not only Varosha but also the Karaolos area north of the Famagusta port; a triangle extending from Apostolos Varnavas to Salamis and the area to the east. The plans concern development of the area with the help of Turkish businessmen and for that reason they want to use the beach of the area, Mavroyiannis said.

He added there were also thoughts for constructing a port to receive cruise ships, a marina and a cargo port in Bogazi.

When and to what extent these plans would materialise, will depend on the reactions by the GCs and the international community, he said, according to Alithia.

Mavroyiannis also assessed that as regards the Cyprus problem, things are most probably headed to an informal Mont Pelerin 3-type meeting at the technocratic level. Such a decision might be taken after consultations by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres with the two leaders and the guarantor powers in New York, he said.

As regards the Terms of Reference, he said for the GC side it was a given that they would be based on the 2014 Joint Declaration, convergences and the Guterres Framework as had been agreed during the leaders’ meeting of August 9.

The TC side, however, had acted based on the ‘Christmas Tree logic’, by adding various ‘ornaments’ to the ToR tree, Mavroyiannis said.

He said there was a constant effort to add issues based on their narrative of the last two years that for the talks to start the GCs must agree on the TC’s perception of political equality, that it must include the TC positive vote, that the talks would be brief and agree on what would happen next in case the talks fail.

Mavroyiannis also said that there was no document on the Guterres Framework. “The UNSG did not present a document. On the 30th (June 2017) he announced the six points and the logic of the presentation,” Mavroyiannis said.

KEY ACTORS
Mavroyiannis (GC negotiator)
>>
Turkey wants to develop, with the help of Turkish businessmen, a triangular area covering Varosha, Salamis & Apostolos Varnavas. There are also thoughts on building a cruise ship & cargo port as well as marina in Bogazi.
>> Implementation of Turkish plans will depend on reactions by the GCs and the international community.
>> On Cyprob, most likely heading towards an informal technocratic meeting (like Mont Pelerin 3). Decision will be taken after UNSG meetings with leaders & guarantor powers.
>> 2 leaders had agreed on August 9 to base the ToR on the 2014 Joint Declaration, past convergences & Guterres Framework.
>> TC side wanted to add elements to this agreement, such as securing GC commitment to TC perception of political equality before talks start, including on positive vote, as well as commitment that talks would be brief & on what would happen if talks fail.
>> There is no Guterres Framework document, only an oral account of his six points on June 30, 2017.


Green light for next phase of Apostolos Andreas renovation

Alithia, Haravgi, Phileleftheros
CBMs

OVERVIEW

Τhe papers report that the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage was informed on Tuesday afternoon that the TC ‘cabinet’ decided to announce a tender competition for the second phase of the restoration of the monastery of Apostolos Andreas.

The dailies quote GC head of the committee Takis Hadjidemetriou saying that this will pave the way for the consortium of GC and TC contractors to carry on with works on the medieval chapel located at the site, the fountain where holy water flows, the surrounding area of the monastery and on support of the building next to the monastery.


State urged to streamline refugee policy

Alithia, Haravgi, Phileleftheros
Human Rights

OVERVIEW

The papers report on the discussion on Tuesday by the House refugee committee on a report by the ombudswoman who had found irregularities in the government’s policy on housing aid to refugees.

The head of the committee, AKEL MP Skevi Koukouma, said that the report vindicates persons who are refugees from their mother’s side. This group of refugees were recognised as such in 2013. Until then only persons whose father was a refugee were given the same status.

Koukouma said the report refers to refugees who were recognised as such in 2013 and who had built or bought their home prior to 2011. According to the government regulations this category of refugees, who were recognised in 2013 based on their mothers’ status, were entitled to state aid for housing only if they had acquired their residence two years prior to when they received their refugee status.

The report cites the decision of the European Court of Human Rights on a case filed against the Republic of Cyprus prior to 2013 by a person who was not recognised by the state as a refugee because his mother was one and not his father. The Court upheld the refugee’s demand for state aid citing discrimination by the state between refugees.

Koukouma said that the committee will invite the ministers of finance and interior to discuss the matter so that all refugees have equal rights.

The same report also pointed out that a government decision not to give beneficiaries refugee aid was illegal since no bill was sent to parliament for approval.

The cases concerned a government scheme for financial aid to refugees to build their homes on state plots. After several refugees signed contracts to benefit from the scheme, cabinet decided in 2016 to grant to them only the plot and not the financial aid. The ombudswoman said in her report that the beneficiaries were then asked to sign new contracts with no provision on monetary aid. In the case they were refusing to do so, they were threatened they would lose the plot as well. This was pure blackmail, the report said. It added that this was illegal since no bill was sent to parliament for approval.

The report also said that due to delays in carving up and distributing the plots in question to the beneficiaries, many of them say they do not want them anymore, according to the papers.