GCC Press Review 24 Sep 2019

Front Page Headlines

Politis

The Thomas (Cook) ‘boom’ is getting us into trouble

Bankruptcy ‘cannon’ with 15,000 (tourists) stuck in Cyprus. Plans on covering the significant losses to tourism. The scores of civil weddings of foreign nationals in Cyprus a collateral loss.

  • Varosha-threats on the menu
  • Priests (salaries): Political decision

Phileleftheros

Domino bankruptcy for Cyprus

Direct losses of €50m in Cyprus due to Thomas Cook while the indirect ones are incalculable. Unpaid bills to hoteliers to the tune of millions mainly in the free Famagusta area.

  • Decisive contacts by the president in New York – He is also meeting American Jews.
  • Express talk between Christodoulides-Cavus(oglu)
  • Akinci is under pressure and he blames Anastasiades
  • Τurkey: Ready for deadly hits with drones

Haravgi

We are counting losses from Thomas Cook bankruptcy

The bankruptcy of Britain’s Thomas Cook has brought a chain of consequences to many countries. Cyprus too is in a very difficult situation. It is counting losses in tourists while Cypriot hoteliers are being left out to dry. The cost, the lost money to hoteliers and the economy, is around €50m and will not be easily regained, said Tourism deputy Minister Savvas Perdios.

  • They (leaders) should focus on positive developments
  • DISY-DIKO sealed the deal with the Archbishop (on priests’ salaries) – It is a political decision says (Finance Minister) Harris (Georgiades).

Cyprus Mail

Thomas Cook a ‘severe blow’

Cyprus braces for significant aftershocks after Thomas Cook collapse.

  • (Cyprus-Turkey) Foreign ministers spar in surprise New York meeting

Alithia

Tsunami on tourism

Turbulence in the tourism industry of many countries due to the collapse of the British giant Thomas Cook. Cyprus is losing the 250,000 tourists it had throughout the year and €188m in income while hoteliers are losing their income for July, August and September that reaches €50m.

  • Response by Akinci: “We were not able to reach an agreement on August 9”  
  • The handshake that did not come between the FMs of Cyprus and Turkey
  • Gathering by Famagustians outside the UNFICYP checkpoint on Thursday
  • It is a political subsidy and not a commercial agreement – Harris on priests’ salaries.

Main News

Cyprob hits New York

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

OVERVIEW

President Nicos Anastasiades has already started important contacts in New York on the sidelines of the 74th session of the UN General Assembly, with a meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of China Wang Yi, the papers report.  

The highlight, however, was an unexpected exchange between the Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides and his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu and the avoidance of the latter to shake hands with the Cypriot minister on the issue of a bizonal bicommunal federal solution.

According to the dailies, the two ministers bumped into each other as Christodoulides was about to meet the Greek foreign minister, and just as Cavusoglu was speaking to reporters.

Citing a report by CyBC, the dailies report that during their brief meeting Christodoulides asked Cavusoglu why the Terms of Reference to restart the talks could not be decided upon immediately, and why Turkey was asking that a five-party meeting with the two sides and the guarantor powers take place first. In response, Cavusoglu referred to discussions he had last year with Anastasiades, who spoke of possible solutions involving a confederation and two states, noting that certain things still require clarification.

“There is no other solution other than a bi-zonal, bicommunal federation. Let’s shake hands now that we agree and we can move on,” Christodoulides replied. Cavusoglu refused to shake hands, insisting that the two sides still need to agree on the basis of future talks, the dailies reported.

Christodoulides met with Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias where they briefed each other on developments on the Cyprus problem and coordinated their efforts ahead of crucial meetings they will both hold this week.

Dendias said after the meeting the main topic was the coordination of the foreign policy of the two countries in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean Sea and the prospects for the resumption of the negotiating procedure from where they left off in Crans-Montana.

He said that despite the constructive attitude of the Republic of Cyprus, Turkey’s stance does not contribute to the resumption of the talks.
 
He emphasised that during the scheduled meetings of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis with Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his meeting with Mevlut Cavusoglu, “the Greek side will clarify to Turkey the need for its own co-operation in the context of the resumption of talks”.

On Monday, Anastasiades met with Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi, as part of his series of meetings leading up to his address at the UN General Assembly on Thursday and his meeting with the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday. He also met with the leadership of the AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee).

Anastasiades also submitted to Guterres Cyprus’ initiative for coordinating climate change actions in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East on the occasion of the 2019 UN Climate Action Summit held at the UN Headquarters. The letter outlining the initiative was also sent to the leaders of Egypt, Greece, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Iraq, Iran, Israel, Qatar, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine and Saudi Arabia.

On Wednesday he will meet with the Greek prime minister, after the latter’s meeting with Erdogan.

The dailies also report that in statements upon arriving in New York on Sunday, Anastasiades said that it would not be the GC side which would sink the efforts of Guterres, noting that this week each side will be tested.

“I want to highlight that I remain loyal to all we agreed with Akinci on August 9 during our informal meeting, and I insist on what I agreed to which is nothing other than the document prepared since day one by Jane Holl Lute,” he said.

Cyprus Mail reports that Anastasiades said Christodoulides has secured meetings with around 25 foreign ministers on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, “to pass on the message regarding our determination [for a Cyprus solution] but also regarding the support we need to stop the constant violation of international law [by Turkey].”

According to Haravgi and Alithia, Akinci, in response to statements by Anastasiades on Saturday that the TC leader had gone back on their August 9 agreement said this was not true. Akinci said all they agreed on August 9 was to continue working with Lute and send out the message that if the UN Secretary-General invited them to a three-party meeting, they would agree.

He added, they also expressed their determination to continue the effort. According to the TC leader, during the August 9 meeting, Anastasiades had continued refusing the possibility of political equality and effective participation and remained vague about these issues also during his meetings with Lute.

It was this behaviour that did not allow reaching an agreement and recording one by one the Terms of Reference, Akinci said.

On the same matter, Phileleftehros reports that Akinci is under pressure by Turkey and the ‘government’ in the occupied areas and is taking it out on Anastasiades. The daily reported that Akinci accused Anastasiades of insisting on not agreeing to the prospect of political equality. The only thing Akinci talks about is political equality, the daily said.

The daily also reports that Akinci’s stance on the Cyprob has been questioned in the last few days by the ‘government’ which is not random given that it comes just before the critical meetings in New York. This shows that Turkey, putting the ‘government’ of the occupation regime at the forefront,  is trying to lead to failure any possibility of a trilateral meeting between the two leaders and Guterres, the paper said.

In another article, Phileleftheros, citing diplomatic sources, reports that nothing is certain yet as regards the next steps on the Cyprus problem as Guterres is expected to decide after his separate meetings with all stakeholders within the week. His last meeting is with Akinci on Saturday.

In the meantime, Lute will either meet or talk over the phone with the foreign ministers of the three guarantor powers who are in New York, while she is also in contact with the two Cypriot sides. It is expected that Guterres’ meeting with Erdogan will be a decisive one, the daily reported.

As regards the meetings in New York, Politis reported that Anastasiades seeks to curb Turkish threats in the Cypriot exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and Turkish plans on Varosha. Meanwhile, the outcome of the contacts in New York is also very important to the TC side. The daily noted that Akinci and ‘foreign minister’ Kudret Ozersay have arranged their own contacts in New York but they are after different forms of a solution; for Akinci it’s the bizonal bicommunal federation and for Ozersay it is other forms such as a confederation or two states.

KEY ACTORS
Dendias (Greece)
>>
Despite the RoC’s constructive attitude, Turkey’s stance does not contribute to the resumption of the talks.
>> Turkey needs to cooperate for the talks to resume.

Anastasiades
>>
All sides will be tested this week, and it will not be the GC side which will sink Guterres’ efforts.
>> Remains loyal to everything he agreed with Akinci on August 9 which is nothing other than the document prepared since day one by Lute concerning the ToR.

Akinci
>>
There was no agreement on August 9 other than continuing to work with Lute and accept a possible invitation by Guterres for a trilateral meeting.
>> The reason no agreement was reached on the ToR was Anastasiades’ refusal to agree to political equality & TC effective participation & his evasiveness on these issues also during his meetings with Lute.


Turkey fails to reopen Loizidou case at CoE level

Alithia, Haravgi
Property, Human Rights

OVERVIEW

According to the dailies, Turkey on Monday failed to bring up for discussion the case of Titina Loizidou before a session of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe tasked with supervising the implementation of judgements issued by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

Turkey was aiming at having the topic added to the Committee’s agenda, in a bid to close its supervision. Titina Loizidou seeks to enforce a 1996 Court judgment, concerning the restitution and peaceful enjoyment of her property in Kyrenia but Turkey says it is not possible to restore the property and that Loizidou can only exchange it or receive compensation for it from the ‘immovable property commission’.
 
The dailies, citing the Cyprus News Agency, reported that according to diplomatic sources at the beginning of Monday’s session in Strasbourg, the Turkish delegation asked for Loizidou’s case to be included in the Committee’s agenda which was rejected following a vote by the Permanent Representatives.

 The only Cyprus-related item on the September agenda has to do with property rights of the enclaved GCs, the dailies report.


‘UNFICYP cooperates with both sides to preserve status quo in buffer zone’

Alithia, Cyprus Mail, Haravgi, Phileleftheros
External Security, CBMs

OVERVIEW

The dailies report that UNFICYP on Monday said that maintaining the military status quo in the buffer zone remained their top priority.

Asked to comment on an article by Phileleftheros on the placement of a welcoming sign to the pergola built by the Turkish army at Ledra street crossing, UNFICYP spokesman Aleem Siddique told the Cyprus News Agency: “While we do not comment on individual incidents, we are liaising with both sides to address security concerns and ensure the status quo is preserved.”

He added that all incidents affecting security in the buffer zone are reported regularly in the UN Secretary-General’s report.

Haravgi said in an opinion piece that it is not enough for the UN to record these incidents but they need to avert them. It added that the solution to the Cyprus problem was the most effective way.


Famagustians call on UNSG to intervene on Varosha

Alithia, Haravgi, Cyprus Mail
External Security, Property, Regional/International Relations, Human Rights

OVERVIEW

A peaceful rally on Varosha organised by the Famagusta municipality will take place on Thursday afternoon outside the UN-protected area of the Nicosia airport, the dailies report.

The municipality is calling on UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to intervene by demanding the implementation by Turkey of the UN Security Council resolutions, without any further delay.

A statement by the municipality said that now that everyone is opposed to the explosive and unacceptable announcements made by Ankara, and the president will put forward this issue during his speech at the UN General Assembly in New York, it is time for the citizens of Famagusta and others to do everything possible to prevent the implementation of the new unacceptable manoeuvres of Turkey and its representatives on the island, against Famagusta, and against the struggle to reunite the country within the framework of the UN parameters.