GCC Press Review 4 Oct 2019

Front Page Headlines


The Yavuz is in (block) 7 and we are watching

First Turkish drilling in licensed block in the EEZ. Escalation of provocation at a time when Guterres is looking for ways for new talks. “We are taking the necessary measures,” President Anastasiades reassures.

  • Disagreements between parties – National Council meeting in the midst of provocation.


They made property owners rich

Criminal investigations for leasing of buildings in the public sector. The probe revealed all kinds of irregularities. 585 lease contracts were scrutinised by the Auditor-general.

  • Invasion in block 7 by the Yavuz – They escalate the raid.
  • Famagusta at the Security Council while new announcements are made by Ozersay – They will build homes for workers.
  • The American FM in Athens tomorrow


Golden business by renting buildings to the state

Fifty-three per cent of state services are renting (premises) and as a result, the state is paying millions each month. 380 property owners share €23.4 m. According to the report by the Audit Office, for half of them, we already paid in rent their construction cost.

  • Drillship Yavuz is in block 7

Cyprus Mail

Yavuz heading to EEZ’s block 7

Cyprus called on the ship and its supporting vessels to cease its illegal actions.


(Turkey) is invading (block) 7

Turkey escalates her provocations with drillings now also inside the Cypriot EEZ. She reserved part of the block with a new Navtex, sent the Yavuz in the area and threatens the interests of the French-Italian consortium Total/ΕΝΙ. The government reassures that it is closely monitoring developments.

  • Cyprob: Strange silence by Antonio Guterres

Main News

Nicosia warns Turkey against any drilling activities in block 7

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


The announcement by Turkey that its drillship Yavuz is headed for block 7 which was recently licenced to French-Italian consortium Total-ENI is the main Cyprob item in all papers today with some calling this move an invasion of the Cypriot exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

The online news portals of Cyprus Mail, Phileleftheros and Politis, reported on Friday morning that the government issued another strong condemnation of Turkey’s latest move saying in an announcement that the new planned drilling, this time round in a duly licensed block, constitutes a “further severe escalation of Turkey’s continued violations of the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea as well as customary international law”.

The government said that in flagrant violation of international law, Turkey has chosen to conduct a drilling operation within offshore exploration Block 7, which was licensed by the Republic to European companies, and lies within the EEZ/continental shelf of Cyprus. It said this block had already been delineated in accordance with international law, between the relevant opposite coastal states, namely the Republic of Cyprus and Egypt, by means of the 2003 EEZ Delimitation Agreement.

It is stressed that “the hydrocarbons exploration and/or exploitation of Block 7 is an exclusive sovereign right of Cyprus and does not affect the rights of any third state, including Turkey.”
This new provocation is yet another proof of the utterly provocative and aggressive behaviour of Ankara, which has chosen to speedily and irreversibly depart from international legality, thus putting security and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean at risk, the announcement said

The Cyprus government called once more on Turkey to immediately cease all its illegal activities and withdraw all its drilling and seismic vessels from Cyprus’ EEZ and continental shelf, adding that it was determined to continue defending its legal rights while intensifying its efforts at a legal, political and diplomatic level, using all available means, especially in the framework of the European Union.
It reiterated the decisions of the EU, as well as the Conclusions of the Foreign Affairs Council of 15 July 2019 through which the High Representative and the Commission were invited to continue work on options for targeted measures in light of Turkey’s continued drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean, the news portals reported.

According to the dailies, President Nicos Anastasiades said on Thursday all necessary measures were being taken in line with international law after news that the Yavuz was headed to an area inside Cyprus’ EEZ to carry out natural gas exploration. According to a marine advisory issued by Turkish authorities, the Yavuz will carry out drilling in a designated area inside block 7, from October 19 to January 20.

Some papers reported that a government source told the Cyprus News Agency the final destination of the drillship remains unclear and that they were monitoring the situation.

In the meantime, Cyprus called on the Yavuz and its supporting vessels to “immediately cease illegal actions” in the island’s EEZ and continental shelf in a Navtex published on the website of the Joint Rescue and Coordination Centre (JRCC) in Larnaca. It also warned all those working on the Yavuz and its supporting vessels they would face consequences and that an international arrest warrant would be issued against them. The actions, it said, were a violation of international law and maritime safety procedures. “Any individuals and companies working and/or providing services, assisting and soliciting to support the illegal actions of Yavuz are violating the rights of the Republic of Cyprus, international law and maritime safety procedures.”

According to the papers, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told a Turkish TV channel that Ankara would prefer to find a ‘common path’ with other nations on resources prospecting in the Eastern Mediterranean but failing that, Turkey would pursue its exploration activities. Cavusoglu reiterated that the areas delineated by Turkey as its continental shelf off Cyprus are ‘non-negotiable’.

Phileleftheros reported of blunt blackmail by Cavusoglu on hydrocarbons.

The dailies also report that a September 19 statement issued by Turkey in response to gas exploration agreements Cyprus signed with French Total and Italian ENI on block 7, has been circulated by Ankara as an official UN document.

Alithia, under the headline, ‘It is invading 7’, reports that the Turkish provocations enter a new phase as everything points towards Ankara getting ready to start drilling for the first time within the Cypriot EEZ and specifically block 7, part of which claims it belongs to her own continental shelf.

Phileleftheros also reports that the Yavuz is invading block 7. According to the paper the point where Turkey’s new illegal drilling starts within the Cypriot EEZ is 250 kilometres from Turkey’s shores and 80km south of the coast of Pissouri. Yavuz has been in block 7, since 8pm last night, and plans to start drilling on Sunday, the paper reported.

Diplomatic sources told Phileleftheros that Cyprus and France were in contact on Thursday over Yavuz’s course while at the same time the government is making representations at the diplomatic level in order for strong messages to be sent to Ankara over her intentions.

This is the first time a Turkish drillship enters a licensed block and threatening to drill, the daily reported.

The paper further notes that CyBC reported on Thursday evening that the government has purchased four drones from Israel to monitor the Cypriot EEZ and Turkish moves. The drones could also be used for search and rescue purposes on land and sea, the paper reported.

Politis headline is ‘Piracy in block 7’. According to the daily, the Republic of Cyprus had carried twice seismic research in the area where the Yavuz is now, in 2006 and 2016, without any hopeful results.

Republic of Cyprus
The Yavuz’s actions are a violation of international law and maritime safety procedures & a further severe escalation of Turkey’s continued violations of the sovereign rights of the RoC.
>> Block 7 is part of Cyprus’ EEZ/continental shelf as per the 2003 EEZ Delimitation Agreement with Egypt & its hydrocarbons exploration and/or exploitation is an exclusive sovereign right of Cyprus. It does not affect the rights of any third state, including Turkey.
>> This new provocation is yet another proof of the utterly provocative and aggressive behaviour of Ankara that puts the security and stability in the East Med at risk by choosing to speedily and irreversibly depart from international legality.
>> The Cyprus government is determined to continue defending its legal rights at a legal, political & diplomatic level, especially within the EU.

Cavusoglu (Turkey)
Turkey prefers a common path with other nations on resources in the East Med but in the absence of that she will carry on with her exploration activities.
>> Turkey’s delineated areas as its continental shelf are non-negotiable.

National Council convenes awaiting news from Guterres

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


While President Nicos Anastasiades will brief the National Council on Friday morning on the latest developments on the Cyprus problem, the papers report that there is a strange silence from UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres as to his intentions on what comes next.

At the same time, the government has filed a request with the Security Council to discuss the Varosha issue as TC ‘foreign minister’ Kudret Ozersay announced that workers’ homes would be built in the Varosha area.

Anastasiades is expected to brief the National Council on the contacts he held last week in New York, including his meeting with Guterres and the appeal to the Security Council on Varosha.

The papers report that there is silence by the UN over Guterres’ next moves on the Cyprus problem.

When asked on Wednesday to comment on the TC leader’s statement that Guterres would take an initiative to convene a trilateral or five-party meeting in October or November, the UN secretary-general’s spokesman Stephane Dujarric said there was nothing he could confirm at this point.

Alithia reports on the strange silence by Guterres as the days go by without him laying his cards on the table.

Politis reports that there is also a difference in opinion among the parties with AKEL and DISY arguing there should be a focus on reaching an agreement on resuming a meaningful dialogue, while at the same time taking the necessary action to ensure that Turkish plans are affected, while the other parties strongly insist that no discussion should take place while Turkey escalates tensions in the EEZ and Varosha.

In the meantime, the UN Security Council is expected to plan within the next few days a discussion concerning the recourse of Cyprus in relation to Turkish threats to settle Varosha, after a request was conveyed on October 1 by Permanent Representative of Cyprus to the UN Andreas Mavroyiannis, some papers report.

Alithia and Phileleftheros report that Ozersay announced that ‘cabinet’ has given the green light for the construction of workers’ houses in the Varosha area. Phileleftheros reports that Ozersay is leading again the chorus of threats. Haravgi and Phileleftheros also report that Russian President Vladimir Putin said in his congratulatory message to Anastasiades on the occasion of the 59th anniversary of Cypriot Independence that Russia continues to support efforts to achieve a just, comprehensive and sustainable solution to the Cyprus problem. This would also help strengthen security and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean region, Putin said, according to the papers.

Putin (Russia)
Russia continues to support efforts to achieve a just, comprehensive and sustainable solution to the Cyprob which would strengthen security and stability in the East Med.

Woman who mediated the purchase of infant jailed

Phileleftheros, Politis
Internal Security, Human Rights


The dailies report that a 47-year-old woman from the Philippines was sentenced on Thursday to six years in prison after being found guilty of mediating for the purchase of a baby in her country on behalf of a gay couple in Cyprus.

The gay couple, a GC and a Turk, who had been living in Nicosia and recently signed a cohabitation agreement, fled through the occupied areas a few months ago when the case was revealed taking the two-year-old girl with them.

The woman, who was working as a domestic worker at the house of the GC man’s parents, admitted to travelling to the Philippines and finding a pregnant woman willing to give up her baby. She took the newborn baby from its mother in July 2017 and then brought it back as her own. She presented a fake birth certificate allegedly issued by Filipino authorities saying she was the mother and the GC man the father.

Later on, the GC man and his partner from Turkey signed a cohabitation agreement and tried to adopt the baby but withdrew their application after authorities started investigating. It is believed they crossed to the occupied areas along with the two-year-old girl and from there to Turkey. Arrest warrants are pending against the two men.

Politis reported that the scam was revealed when the GC man filed to the Nicosia family court for sole custody of the child as the so-called father but later annulled his application. Authorities also started investigating after the 47-year-old woman had asked from the immigration department to extend her residence permit as a parent of a Cypriot citizen, the daily reported.

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