GCC Press Review 20 Sep 2019

Front Page Headlines

Politis

Turmoil in education, parents vs teachers

The president shows his teeth to the teachers. It is not the trade unionists who rule. One-hour work stoppages by all three educational organisations. Parents side with the government, teacher-pupil alliance.

  • Ankara threatens on block 7
  • Cyprob: warm-up for New York

Phileleftheros

Everyone joined the war

Confrontations on the education front, from the Presidential Palace to teachers, pupils, parents. After the class abstention by pupils, work stoppages follow from Oelmek, Oltek and Poed (primary & secondary teacher unions).

  • Games by Ankara with the drillships – Both left quietly.
  • Direct trade is being brought back from the dead
  • Memo to the UN on the committee of the occupied areas (Immovable Properties Commission)
  • The teacher (accused of injuring TC pupil) was charged and released

Haravgi

Threats from Turkey over drilling in block 7

The Turkish foreign ministry claims that part of block 7 belong to the Turkish continental shelf and calls on foreign countries and companies not to proceed with research or drillings there, putting the agreement with Total and ENI into question. AKEL highlights the need for resumption of substantive talks because only this will fend off the new faits accomplis.

  • The measures implemented against draft-dodging did not deliver as expected
  • They want a job to live (protest by asylum seekers)

Cyprus Mail

‘You don’t give a damn, Harris’

Greens MP blasts finance minister over co-op branch closures.

Alithia

It is not the trade unionists who rule

President Anastasiades sends out the message to teachers and pupils he is determined not to allow new turbulence in education: Such behaviours will not be accepted. We determine policy on education and each will play their role. The pupils paved the way yesterday with a two-hour class abstention and (unions) Poed, Oelmek and Oltek follow suit next week on three different days.

  • (Turkey) ‘7’ is ours, you will not carry out research – Threats by the Turkish foreign ministry to the RoC (Republic of Cyprus) and companies over the Total-ENI agreement. Turkish Yeni Safak claims that the Conqueror (Fatih) is about to leave the area off Paphos, but that the Yavuz will soon return.
  • Guterres statements: The government sees them as a message to Turkey
  • Turkey presented an aggressive drone carrying weapons like an F-16

Main News

Prodromou: Guterres’ call for ToR is a message to Turkey

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

OVERVIEW

The government believes the call by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to the two sides to quickly reach an agreement on the Terms of Reference (ToR) in order to start talks was a message to Turkey, the dailies report.

In the meantime, preparations are underway for the expected developments in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly while speculations abound about the departure of the Turkish drillships from the Cypriot EEZ.

Government spokesman Prodromos Prodromou on Thursday said Guterres’ statements were “supportive to the effort of President Nicos Anastasiades, who responds with a positive spirit and political will throughout this period to the UNSG’s initiative”, while it also sends a message to the Turkish side which has been trying “by adopting delaying tactics to divert the negotiations and the process, or even hinder the formulation of the Terms of Reference.”

Prodromou said it was important that Guterres’ initiative was currently underway, noting that the UNSG himself recalled that the main goal was to reach an agreement on the terms of reference. “This is what the Secretary-General has asked for, and it is certainly positive that he underlined that substantive negotiations need to resume, building of course on the work that was done during the Conference in Crans Montana,” Prodromou added.

Asked if Nicosia considers the fact that the Turkish drillship Yavuz has withdrawn and that the Fatih would also withdraw from the west of the island, as a de-escalation, Prodromou said the situation would be evaluated. He said however that for negotiations to resume, Turkey’s illegal activities in Cyprus’ EEZ needed to end.

Haravgi reports that the government’s interpretation of Guterres’ statements, thinking it is only addressed to Turkey, was one-sided. A second reading of the statement, however, correlates the message to both sides so that there is an agreement on the Terms of Reference as this was the objective of the UN special envoy’s mission here in Nicosia that failed, it said.

According to Haravgi, Prodromou did not avoid the temptation of using the Guterres statement to blame Turkey again, forgetting that during all the previous time the president was submitting ‘new ideas’.

Citing diplomatic sources, the daily reported that Nicosia does not exclude the possibility that developments in New York could be rapid and include a joint meeting of Guterres with the two leaders.

Politis, citing sources, reports that Guterres’ statements are not irrelevant to what it is expected to take place next week and in the near future as regards the Cyprus problem.

The daily reports that Anastasiades departs for New York on Saturday, with a stop in London to address the National Federation of Cypriots in the UK. He is expected back in Cyprus on September 28. While in New York, he will have a meeting with Guterres on September 27. A day earlier, he will address the plenum of the General Assembly where he is expected to raise the issue of Varosha and Turkish provocations in the EEZ. Anastasiades will also meet with the foreign ministers of China and Russia.

TC leader Mustafa Akinci will depart for New York on Monday and is due back on October 2, the daily reported.

Guterres, except from the two leaders will also meet with representatives from Greece, Turkey and the UK, the daily reported, adding that the meeting between the Greek prime minister and the Turkish president on September 24 is expected to shed light on each side’s intentions, Politis reported.

In the meantime, Nicosia is monitoring the moves of the two Turkish drillships that were operating off Cyprus. Almost all dailies report that the departure of the drillships could be linked with Turkey’s efforts to de-escalate tensions ahead of the UN General Assembly.

According to Phileleftheros, the almost simultaneous departure of the two drillships is not random and that is why Nicosia is standing by for Turkey’s next move.

Citing the Turkish daily Yeni Safak, Phileleftheros reports that the Fatih has completed its drilling activities west of Cyprus and will probably head to the Black Sea. As regards the Yavuz which is now in Antalya after completing its exploratory drilling in Karpasia, it might be dispatched in the area where the Barbaros was carrying out research south of Cyprus.

Nicosia however, does not rule out the possibility of the Fatih’s departure to be another tactical move by Turkey ahead of the UN General Assembly, the daily reported.

KEY ACTORS
Prodromou
>>
Guterres’ statements support Anastasiades’ efforts & send a message to the Turkish side whose delaying tactics are aimed at diverting the talks.
>> Agrees with SG’s call for agreement on ToR & need for substantive talks to resume from where they left off in Crans-Montana.
>> For negotiations to resume, Turkey’s illegal activities in Cyprus’ EEZ must end.


Turkey warns against any activities in block 7

Alithia, Haravgi, Phileleftheros, Politis
Energy, External Security

OVERVIEW

The dailies report that Turkey is hurling threats following the announcement on the agreement between the Cypriot government and energy consortium Total-ENI on offshore block 7, claiming a section of it is part of the Turkish continental shelf.

According to the spokesperson of the Turkish foreign ministry Hami Aksoy, news of the “Greek Cypriot Administration” signing agreements with Total and ENI was an indication of its failure to understand Turkey’s determination, despite all her warnings, and of the GCs’ persistence in prolonging their irresponsible stance. He added that a proposal of the TCs towards an equitable allocation of natural resources of the island remains on the table.

A section of the so-called block 7 remains within the Turkish continental shelf, which has been registered with the United Nations, Aksoy said.

He added that Turkey will in no way allow any foreign country, company or vessel to engage in unauthorised hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation activities within its maritime jurisdiction areas, and will continue to take the necessary measures to protect its rights and interests.

He also advised the interested companies against any hydrocarbon activities within the Turkish continental shelf, trusting null and void licences issued by the GCs.

Politis, citing TC press, reported that TC experts and academicians have estimated that signing the agreement on block 7 would raise even more tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean.

TC sources told Politis that Turkey may utilise this development during her officials’ contacts in New York. This approach is not unrelated to the departure of the Yavuz drillship and the expected departure of the Fatih, the sources said.

On the one hand, Turkey raises tensions through yesterday’s announcement by the foreign ministry on block 7, and on the other, she is lowering tensions as regards the two drillships. This tactic smells strongly of a strategic move ahead of New York next week, the daily said.

Alithia reports that the agreement on block 7 has irked Turkey which is now hurling threats.

KEY ACTORS
Aksoy (Turkish foreign ministry)
>>
GCs fail to understand Turkey’s determination despite all her warnings and persist in prolonging their irresponsible stance.
>> Licenses granted to Total-ENI in area of so-called block 7 which falls within Turkish continental shelf, are null and void & any hydrocarbon activities there must be avoided.
>> Warns that Turkey will not allow any foreign country, company or vessel to engage in unauthorised hydrocarbon-related activities within its maritime jurisdiction areas.
>> The TCs’ proposal on sharing the natural resources of the island is still on the table.


Efforts within EP to revive direct trade debate

Phileleftheros
EU Matters, Economy, Human Rights

OVERVIEW

The daily, citing sources, reports that efforts are underway within the European Parliament as regards bringing back the proposal of the EU Commission on direct trade with the occupied areas.

Phileleftheros reports that the proposal in question, that leads to the Taiwanisation of occupied Cyprus and which has been a red line for Nicosia for the past 15 years, was put before the Committee on International Trade in light of the start of the new parliamentary season as is the case with all the draft regulations that have been frozen.

But according to the same information, when the group of the European People’s Party (EPP) asked for the regulation proposal in question to be deleted from the agenda, the Socialist-Democrats group raised the so-called isolation of the TCs and consequently the discussion of this unacceptable regulation, the daily reported.

The issue was yesterday put before the supreme body of the Conference of Presidents, which decided to postpone the decision perhaps for next week.

The daily reports that during the last 48 hours the leadership of the Socialist-Democrat group has been unprecedentedly active in favour of the reintroduction of the regulations on direct trade. The Socialist-Democrats, the second largest political family in the European Parliament, are looking forward to reopening the debate on the imposition of the Commission’s unacceptable proposal, with the exception, of course, of the Cypriot MEPs, the daily reported.

The proposal had been rejected for having an ‘inappropriate’ legal basis by the legal services of both the European Parliament and the Commission since it regards the occupied part of Cyprus as a ‘third country’.

The paper also reported that the European United Left has been against direct trade in support of Nicosia’s positions but the Liberals had backed the approval of the regulation with the Greens moving along the same lines.

In another article Phileleftheros reports that four Cypriot MEPs, DISY’s Lefteris Christoforou and Loucas Fourlas, AKEL’s Giorgos Georgiou and EDEK’s Yiannis Papadakis, have asked in their interventions during the European Parliament’s plenary session for zero tolerance to Turkey’s violation of human rights, both internally and abroad.

The Cypriot MEPs referred to the way Turkey is handling the migration issue, violations of human rights internally, the occupation of the island, violations within the Cypriot EEZ and as regards the Varosha issue.

They called for actions instead of just verbal condemnations of Turkey’s behaviour.

Christoforou and Papadakis called for the freezing of funds by the EU to Turkey, the daily reported.


Government mulling over more anti-draft dodging measures

Haravgi
External Security

OVERVIEW

The daily reports that Defence Minister Savvas Angelides admitted on Thursday that the measures taken to prevent draft-dodging did not deliver the expected results.

Speaking before the House defence committee, Angelides said that his ministry is mulling over additional measures.

He said that they will have a complete picture by the end of the month when all applications for discharge from the army based on social issues will be examined but it seems that the measures taken against draft-dodging by those claiming psychological reasons did not pay off. He said many of those who claim they have psychological problems leave for studies abroad.

“We are not satisfied by the results,” he told MPs, adding that more measures were needed which are currently being assessed.

Among them, will be asking those claiming to suffer from psychological problems to present every three months for a two-year period a doctor’s evaluation and for their regular observation by a doctor.

As regards athletes, however, the measure of non-issuance of health cards to those claiming to have psychological issues seems to have paid off, he said.