GCC Press Review 25 Sep 2019

Front Page Headlines

Politis

Let’s finally see their ‘minutes’

Public negotiation between Christodoulides-Cavusoglu on the form of solution. Ankara insists on an informal five-party meeting before the Terms of Reference. Nicosia says the only solution basis is the bizonal bicommunal federation.

  • Tayyip Erdogan: The same attitude also at the UN

Phileleftheros

Headache from Russia

Serious concerns for a buyout agreement for Biblio by Thomas Cook. Despite reassurances, the picture remains blurry on consequences for Cyprus.

  • A sample of (Turkish) plans by Cavusoglu
  • Show by Erdogan at the UN General Assembly – He went with maps and threats.
  • (AKEL MEP) Niyazi (Kizilyurek) is asking for the establishment of Turkish (as an EU) language

Haravgi

Insistence on the Terms of Reference

The best response to Cavusoglu’s and others’ claims that Mr Anastasiades has suggested a confederation in Christodoulides’ presence, claiming there are minutes, is an agreement on the Terms of Reference accepting as basis of the ensuing talks, the Joint Declaration, the convergences and the Guterres Framework, reconfirming the BBF as the sought solution.

  • Government announcement on resettlement (to enclaved villages) with an application, if and when and after two years

Cyprus Mail

Boris vows firm stand on Brexit

Supreme Court bombshell, Labour leader calls for the PM’s resignation.

  • Video of foreign ministers’ spat goes viral

Alithia

‘Minutes’ or ‘espionage’?

What did Cavusoglu and Christodoulides mean when they said they have minutes? The existence of minutes from informal talks is impossible but political ‘espionage’ and secret recording of conversations is widespread and common in such meetings.

  • Tayyip Erdogan: The intentions of those who want the abolition of guarantees are bad
  • TC politician Ferdi Soyer shoots down the Turkish propaganda with documents – The Varosha vakif, he says, was compensated and closed in 1935.

Main News

Questions over alleged ‘confederation’ proposal

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

OVERVIEW

All papers on Wednesday report on the brief, unexpected exchange between Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides and his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu and the latter’s revelation there were minutes of his meeting with Nicos Anastasiades where the Cypriot president allegedly brought up alternative forms of solution.

The video of this exchange with the entire conversation between the two ministers went viral as Cavusoglu is heard referring to discussions he had with Anastasiades in Christodoulides’ presence before being cut off by the Cypriot minister.

“Last time, in front of you, your president told me…,” Cavusoglu said, after which Christodoulides cut him off, categorically denying what was to come with multiple ‘no’s. “I have the minutes,” Cavusoglu said. Christodoulides replied: “We have also the minutes.” Christodoulides then said: “Remember that the president was…” but cut his sentence short, saying “anyway, the press has come.”

Christodoulides then went on to say the sides know what they are going to talk about and there was only one solution, the bizonal bicommunal federation (BBF). He further called on Cavusoglu to shake hands and officially agree that a BBF was the only solution on the table. The Turkish foreign minister stated this remained unresolved.

According to Haravgi this was a PR failure by Christodoulides.

Politis reports that the two ministers had another unexpected brief meeting on Tuesday in the presence also of Erdogan’s son-in-law, Turkey’s finance minister, who raised the issue of energy in the East Med, while Christodoulides and Cavusoglu continued their discussion on the Terms of Reference.

Government Spokesman Prodromos Prodromou told Phileleftheros that as regards the next steps on the Cyprus problem, it will all be clarified after Anastasiades’ meeting this week with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

On Mustafa Akinci’s statements in response to what Anastasiades had said on the failure of agreeing on the Terms of Reference and Cavusoglu’s claims, Prodromou said the president would present his positions both at his speech on Thursday at the General Assembly and in his meeting with Guterres on Friday.

This position will be that the president is ready to proceed with the Terms of Reference based on the agreement that seemed to be feasible from the first day Lute was on the island, which was based on the understanding he had with the TC leader, Prodromou said.

He added that it was not Anastasiades who has been initiating discussions on other forms of a solution and making excuses before the talks. Prodromou said the moment of truth is near because when Anastasiades talks with Guterres, any doubts created due to the Turkish rhetoric will be dissolved and each side’s positions will be revealed.

 He also said Lute, after hearing from both sides that there was an understanding on August 9, an initial agreement, wanted to put it in writing and that was the text the GC side had agreed to and is ready to discuss.

If the two leaders agree on the Terms of Reference then it is up to the guarantor powers to agree for the resumption of talks, he said, adding that the position of Greece and the UK are known.

The issue most papers stick to however is the existence of these minutes.

Alithia, arguing that it would not have been possible for actual minutes to have been taken during an informal meeting between Cavusoglu and Anastasiades, came to the conclusion that the two men probably secretly recorded each other.

The daily, after asking politicians, police officers and members of the secret service, reported that espionage plays a serious role in the political scene. When politicians meet unofficially to discuss issues that concern them, they secretly carry voice recorders, the daily reported, adding that during international meetings like Crans-Montana, the politicians’ entourages include technocrats who, using modern technology, monitor everything around them.

The daily learned that they are able to monitor dialogues, telephone calls, and can even access text messages and read them. Usually, however, the outcome of the espionage cannot be made public for any politician to back their arguments.

Therefore, when Anastasiades and Cavusoglu met in a corner in Crans-Montana, apparently both managed to secretly record each other’s positions, hence their argument that they have minutes at their disposal, the daily reported.

In another article, Alithia reported that former interior minister Socratis Hasikos called on Christodoulides in a tweet to give these minutes to publicity, arguing this is the only way to prove Cavusoglu wrong.

Politis reports that the minutes of Cavusoglu’s meeting with Anastasiades and Christodoulides confirm claims that the president had suggested other forms of a solution other than the BBF. Christodoulides, however, mentioned that the GC side’s minutes on the same meeting do not justify Cavusoglu. Only by comparing the two sides’ minutes can this be clarified, the daily said.

Citing diplomatic sources, Politis reports that the government attributes these moves by Turkish officials to a last-ditch attempt to put new forms of a solution onto the negotiating table, which however does not appear to find backing as all other parties, at least in New York, seem to insist on the BBF. The same sources also said that the GC side feels that chances for progress on the Terms of Reference are diminishing due to Turkey’s stance. UN envoy Jane Holl Lute, however, is doing behind-the-scenes work as she has asked for a meeting with negotiator Andreas Mavroyiannis, an indication that she is continuing her efforts, Politis reported.

KEY ACTORS
Prodromou
>>
Anastasiades is ready to agree to the text presented to him and Akinci by Lute on the ToR which is based on what the two leaders agreed at their August 9 meeting.
>> If the two leaders agree on the ToR then it is up to the guarantor powers to agree for the resumption of talks


Erdogan-Ozersay accuse GCs over lack of Cyprob progress

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

OVERVIEW

As President Nicos Anastasiades continued his contacts in New York, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused the GCs of lack of progress on the Cyprus problem, the papers report.

Anastasiades is expected to meet Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Wednesday for a briefing after the latter’s meeting with Erdogan.

 Yesterday, Anastasiades met with the Prime Minister of Northern Macedonia, who invited him to his country for an official visit. He was to also attend on Wednesday evening a reception held by the US presidential couple.

According to the dailies, Erdogan said during his speech at the UN General Assembly that the GC side refuses to share political equality and prosperity with the TCs, adding that the Cyprus problem has not been solved despite talks for over 50 years, due to the intransigent stance of the GC side.

Turkey is a guarantor power for the TCs with which she holds deep, historic and cultural ties, he said.

He added that it was clear that those who seek to solve the Cyprus problem under the terms of zero security and guarantees have bad intentions from the beginning, while Turkey, on the other hand, will continue her efforts until a solution is found to guarantee the security and preservation of the rights of the TCs.

As regards energy, he said Turkish positions represent an important opportunity for cooperation if everyone adopts a win-win approach. But unfortunately, despite our rational approach, some countries in the region are taking unilateral steps, trying to turn the issue of energy resources into a conflict, he said, reiterating his country would protect both her legal rights and interests and those of the TCs.

According to Politis, all sides know that no matter what they discuss or declare in New York, what matters is Erdogan’s position.

Phileleftheros reported that Erdogan put on a show and wanted to dump on the GCs the lack of progress on the Cyprus problem.

The dailies also report on statements by TC ‘foreign minister’ Kudret Ozersay that documents such as the Terms of Reference will not resolve the Cyprus problem and are a waste of time if certain fundamental aspects were not changed. He said it was because of the GC side there has been no progress so far since it is unwilling to share power and natural resources.  

According to Phileleftheros, Ozersay is sabotaging Akinci again.

KEY ACTORS
Erdogan (Turkey)

>> GC intransigence (refusing to share political equality & prosperity with the TCs) has not allowed for a Cyprob solution 50 years on.
>> Those who seek to solve the Cyprob under ‘zero security, zero guarantees’ terms, have bad intentions from the beginning. Turkey, on the other hand, will continue her efforts until a solution is found to guarantee the security & rights of the TCs.
>> Hydrocarbons in the East Med present an opportunity for cooperation if everyone has a win-win approach but some countries in the region ignore Turkey’s rational approach & prefer to take unilateral steps turning energy into a conflict.

Ozersay
>>
Unless there is a change in the stance of the GC side, the ToR is a waste of time since they will not lead to a solution.


Kizilyurek urges making Turkish an EU language

Cyprus Mail, Haravgi, Phileleftheros, Politis
EU Matters, Human Rights

OVERVIEW

The dailies report that AKEL MEP Niyazi Kizilyurek has asked the EU to expedite procedures for the introduction of Turkish as an official EU language.

Kizilyurek, in a parliamentary question, referred to the letter President Nicos Anastasiades had sent in February 2016 to the Presidents of the Council, Commission and European Parliament, stating that Turkish was one of the official languages of the Republic of Cyprus and asked for it to be introduced as an official EU language in accordance with the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

The AKEL MEP said that TC citizens of the EU were certainly expecting their mother tongue to become an official language of the EU, recalling that in the 2019 European Parliament elections, a TC MEP was elected for the first time, by both Greek and Turkish Cypriots.

“Bearing the above in mind, what measures will the Commission take in order to accelerate the necessary procedures for the introduction of Turkish as an official EU language?” he asked.


MPs call for comprehensive support for enclaved

Alithia, Cyprus Mail, Haravgi, Phileleftheros
Human Rights, Property

OVERVIEW

According to the dailies, the House refugee committee on  Tuesday discussed the problems faced by the enclaved and assessed the resettlement scheme for young couples.

MPs called for speedier procedures and a comprehensive state policy on the enclaved after hearing that 150 applications from young couples wishing to settle in enclaved villages are pending.

Most of the 150 pending applications are for the Maronite villages. Only 20 concern resettlements in the Rizokarpaso area, mainly due to the long distance from cities, MPs heard.

Head of the committee, AKEL MP Skevi Koukouma, said there were huge delays in the processing of these applications and questioned the current policy, arguing that a family that resettles must stay in the enclaved village for at least a year before their application is being processed, while this might take another year. This means that they must wait for almost two years to be able to benefit from any of the support offered to them, she said.

Koukouma also said the homes of enclaved people who have died need to be maintained to encourage their families to visit because in the case they are left unattended, there was great risk of them being taken by settlers and others to inhabit them.

She referred to an agreement with former TC leader Mehmet Ali Talat providing that other persons would not take the homes of the enclaved and said because of this, residences were salvaged but that now they need maintenance because at some point they will be considered dilapidated and be demolished.

Koukouma said there are national reasons for maintaining these homes.

Presidential Commissioner Photis Photiou said that among the problems experienced again this year was the rejection by TC authorities of two teachers who were going to teach at Rizokarpaso, as well as one person already teaching at the school there. He said there are around 45 children at the Rizokarpaso kindergarten, primary and secondary schools.

The latest resettlement scheme concerns couples up to 45 years old and provides for housing aid between €10,000 and €15,000 depending on the number of children, around €2,000 for the purchase of home appliances and a lump sum as help for professional rehabilitation.

According to Haravgi, the government schemes are pointless due to time-consuming procedures while they leave out many categories of people leading to the need for new schemes to cover them as well.


Man with fake ID bought in the north arrested

Phileleftheros
Internal Security

OVERVIEW

According to the daily, the industry of fake documents is booming in the occupied areas given that foreign nationals are caught almost on a daily basis at the Paphos airport with fake documents which they admit they bought in the north.

The latest case, which is the fifth within a month, concerns a 39-year-old man who attempted to travel on Monday to Rome with a Romanian identity card.

He was arrested after it emerged he was, in fact, a third-country national and admitted that he had bought the ID in the occupied areas for €1,500, the daily reported.