GCC Press Review 9 Oct 2019

Front Page Headlines

Politis

No solution found on OKYPY (State Health Services Organisation)

(OKYPY) unable to hold back mass resignations of doctors and fill vacancies. Managers and specialised doctors quit Emergency Departments. Doctor evaluations for TAEP (Accident and Emergency Departments) begins today, luckily Greek doctors interested.

  • We count allies in difficult times: They condemned Turkish actions – Investments were the focus of the (Cyprus-Egypt-Greece) trilateral.
  • Yesterday’s discussions bring no result: Euroasia (Interconnector) left incomplete
  • Glafkos (Clerides): His dogs in a children’s book
  • USA-Syria: They try to limit the damage
  • Brexit: Merkel also gives a negative response

Phileleftheros

Condemnations against Turkey

The Cairo Trilateral (Summit) condemns operations in Mediterranean and Syria. Agreement on investment activities across Cyprus-Greece-Egypt.

  • Looking for the middle way: Greek refusal on electricity connection
  • Turkish (military) exercises off the shores of Paphos
  • (DISY and AKEL) move pressure on EU to Brussels
  • Dangerous houses in self-help housing
  • Shocking confession from Kikis Philippou: (GC) refugee (football) clubs ensnared by loan sharks
  • Trump in the crosshairs over the USA’s stance on Syria

Haravgi

US green lights Turkish invasion of Syria

  • (Stelios Haji-Ioannou) Building a sustainable peace
  • AKEL SG meets Mogherini today
  • (GC) Refugee lives in danger
  • Cairo Joint Statement condemns illegal Turkish actions in Cypriot EEZ
  • (GC) refugee (football) clubs resort to loan sharks… In danger from criminals

Cyprus Mail

Trilateral blasts Turkish drilling

Leaders of Greece, Egypt and Cyprus unite to condemn ‘provocative actions’ in the EEZ.

  • Cyprus: Stelios bicommunal awards give out 500,000 euros
  • World: Trump’s Syria policy causes major upheaval

Alithia

Turkey enters Syria

Cascade of developments that will affect Greece and Cyprus coming. What changes will Turkey’s invasion in northern Syria bring. Evaluations and (political) background. Fears of a new wave of migrants. Trump-Erdogan rapprochment could signify a gradual change in regional balance, during a period of Turkish challenges in the Cypriot EEZ.

  • Condemnation of Turkish actions in the Cypriot EEZ: Cairo Trilateral gives support – Cyprus, Greece and Egypt will deepen cooperation in international forums.
  • Sir Stelios (Haji-Ioannou): I will donate half my fortune to charity
  • Boris Johnson annoys Europeans – He got a “no” from Merkel on his backstop proposals

Main News

Egypt-Greece-Cyprus joint condemnation of Turkey’s actions

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

OVERVIEW

All Cypriot dailies focus on the Joint Statement condemning Turkey’s action in the Cypriot EEZ and Syria, as well as actions in Varosha, as a result of the Trilateral Summit held by the leaders of Cyprus, Egypt and Greece in Cairo.

Cyprus Mail reports that the three leaders, Presidents Nicos Anastasiades and Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Prime Minister Kyriacos Mitsotakis, “expressed their grave concern over the current escalation within the maritime areas of the eastern part of the Mediterranean, condemning the continuing Turkish actions in the exclusive economic zone of Cyprus and its territorial waters, in violation of international law”.

Anastasiades said he is confident that Cyprus will be supported by the EU against gunboat diplomacy. Mitsotakis said the three countries condemned Turkey’s illegal actions that violate international law and create fruitless tensions. Sisi stated that his country supports the Cypriot government’s steps towards a peaceful settlement of the Cyprus Problem. In their statements, the three leaders also mentioned the creation of the East Mediterranean Gas Forum. Sisi referred to the joint planning covering the period 2020-2029, while Mitsotakis said that the forum can be a catalyst for closer cooperation.

Politis reports that the focus of the summit itself focused on investment, with the three leaders discussing ways to deepen cooperation in the private sector through a double taxation avoidance agreement and a memorandum of understanding between the investment promotion organisations of the three countries.

Phileleftheros cites information that Greece and Egypt are expected to attempt once again to come to an agreement on the delineation of their respective EEZs.

According to Phileleftheros, Anastasiades also informed Sisi and Mitsotakis on Cyprus’s regional initiative on climate change. Mitsotakis is reported to have invited the other two leaders to a conference in Athens in 2020 on climate change and the way it affects cultural heritage.

Haravgi reports that AKEL criticised the government’s approach regarding the presentation of the trilateral regional dialogues as initiatives that could protect the country’s EEZ. The party’s spokesperson, Stefanos Stefanou, noted that the government is reducing expectations regarding the measures that can be taken by the EU against Turkey, as a result of the failures of the past.

In its editorial, the Cyprus Mail praised Greece for choosing a “responsible path with toned down rhetoric”, in reference to Monday’s statements by Greek FM Nikos Dendias who “while condemning Turkey’s actions avoided the grandstanding that would have been welcomed in Cyprus and steered clear of any talk of escalation”. The newspaper comments on Phileleftheros‘s criticisms of the current Greek government on the basis of statements by former Greek FM Nikos Kotzias. Cyprus Mail accuses Phileleftheros of trying “to drag the Greek government into playing Turkey’s escalation game over Cyprus”, and of disregarding “the possibility the Mitsotakis government may have other plans with regard to relations with Turkey, and an unreasonable expectation that it should align itself with what suits the Cyprus government”.

In a separate story, Phileleftheros refers to new military exercises off the coast of Paphos. The newspaper reports that Turkey has issued a new NAVTEX regarding the area where drillship Fatih operates, citing a scheduled military exercise on Thursday.

KEY ACTORS
Cyprus-Greece-Egypt
>> Grave concern over current escalation within the maritime areas of East Med.
>> Condemn the continuing Turkish actions in the EEZ of Cyprus and its territorial waters, in violation of international law.

Anastasiades
>> Confident in getting support of EU against gunboat diplomacy.

Mitsotakis (Greek PM)
>> Condemned Turkey’s illegal actions that violate international law and create fruitless tensions.

Al-Sisi (Egyptian President)
>> Egypt supports Cyprus’s steps towards a peaceful resolution.


No progress over EuroAsia Interconnector

Phileleftheros, Politis
Energy, Economy, EU Matters, Regional/ International Relations

OVERVIEW

Politis reports that Greece insists it will move ahead with the construction of an electricity cable connection between Crete and Attica without seeking EU co-funding, a move which jeopardises the possibility of drawing funding from Brussels for the EuroAsia Interconnector project initially pursued by Cyprus, Greece and Israel.

According to the newspaper, the discussions that took place on Tuesday in Athens had only partial results, as Cyprus and Greece agreed to make sure that the cables used for the connection of Cyprus to Crete and of Crete to Attica will be compatible. The common position will be forwarded to Brussels, in an attempt to convince the EU that the project can be co-funded.

Phileleftheros reports that Greek prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis responded with a “definite no” to President Anastasiades on the request to support the completion of electricity interconnection between Israel, Cyprus and Greece as part of the EuroAsia Interconnector project. According to the newspaper, Mitsotakis promised to work for the interoperability of the country’s power grids.


DISY and AKEL talk direct trade and EEZ in Brussels

Alithiha, Haravgi, Phileleftheros
EU Matters, CBMs, Energy, External Security, Regional/International Relations

OVERVIEW

The leaders of DISY and AKEL, Averof Neophytou and Andros Kyprianou are holding separate contacts in Brussels, Haravgi and Phileleftheros report on their front pages. Phileleftheros points out that the two Cypriot parties are lobbying for the interests of the Republic of Cyprus, specifically pushing for EU measures against Turkey over its actions in the country’s EEZ.

Phileleftheros presents the contacts that Neophytou and Kyprianou have scheduled mainly in the European Parliament, aiming to prevent the reopening of the proposal for direct trade between the EU and the Turkish Cypriot communities. Alithia mentions that Neophytou will meet with the leadership of the European People’s Party. Haravgi adds that Kyprianou will have a meeting with High Representative Federica Mogherini and Cypriot Commissioner Christos Stylianides, and that on Tuesday he met with the co-presidents of the GUE/NGL political group.

In an announcement, DISY spokesperson Demetris Demetriou said that the party’s position remains that the issue should remain closed and be withdrawn. Kyprianou stated that the position of AKEL and its aim is to ensure that the direct trade proposal remains frozen as it has been for the past several years.

EDEK’s deputy president Maria Vasiliadou is also in Brussels to participate in the autumn conference of the Socialist Group’s think tank FEPS. Haravgi also reports that Famagusta mayor Simos Ioannou will be visiting Brussels next Monday for contacts related to the Turkish actions in Varosha.

KEY ACTORS
Demetriou (DISY)
>> The direct trade file should remain closed and be withdrawn.

Kyprianou (AKEL)
>> Direct trade should have remained frozen as it has been for the past several years.


Another 50 recipients of the Stelios bicommunal award

Alithia, Cyprus Mail, Haravgi, Phileleftheros
CBMs, Economy

OVERVIEW

British-Cypriot businessman Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou announced this year’s bicommunal awards at a special event on Tuesday. Politis reports that Haji-Ioannou pointed out that his Stelios Foundation will remain active regardless of political developments and the bad climate, adding that “this work is more meaningful during difficult periods”. Haji-Ioannou also announced that he’ll make an effort next year to award young people under the age of 21.

Haji-Ioannou also made a special mention of activist Natalie Christopher, who died in the summer in an accident in Greece, and had participated in three projects that were all selected for an award. The 50 bicommunal teams given an award include art projects, NGOs, business as well “partners in life”, i.e. bicommunal couples. Haravgi points out that it is one of the recipients of the award, together with Turkish Cypriot newspaper Yeni Duzen.

In a story related to the awards, Haji-Ioannou told this week’s Oikonomiki Kathimerini in an interview that he intends to expand his brand of EasyHotels to Nicosia. Commenting on the awards, he said that he doesn’t expect to solve the Cyprus Problem but that he knows that when people cooperate there can’t be war.

A short commentary on Phileleftheros criticises the awards, wondering whether it is sustainable to give awards to couples for falling in love.


Katy Clerides pens bilingual children’s book for charity

Politis
CBMs

OVERVIEW

Katy Clerides has written a bilingual chidren’s book, printed in both Greek and Turkish, which was launched at an event at the Home for Cooperation. The proceeds from the sale of the book will be donated to the Karaiskakio and Kemal Saracoglu institutes, known for their cooperation across the divide as early as 2000.

Clerides told Politis that the book is a story of the three stray dogs that were adopted by her father, former President Glafkos Clerides, and her mother. One of the dogs was found inside the buffer zone by UN peacekeepers.


Kyrenia shipwreck display space renovated

Haravgi, Phileleftheros
CBMs

OVERVIEW

The space where an ancient shipwreck dating back to 300 BC, known as the “Kyrenia ship”, is being stored and displayed has been renovated as part of the work of the bicommunal Technical Committee for the Protection of Cultural Heritage.

The renovated space in the city’s medieval castle was inaugurated on October 2 at an event in the presence of Laina Swiny and Robin Piercy, two experts that worked on the conservation of the ship in 1967-1969 and 1970-1974. The renovation was funded by the EU and supported by UNDP.

Haravgi also reports that Renaud Henoumont, the deputy head of the European Commission’s unit tasked with supporting a settlement in Cyprus, was also present at the event, together with the Technical Committee co-presidents, Takis Hadjidemetriou and Ali Tuncay.


Ozgurgun’s immunity lifted, threatening coalition majority

Alithia, Haravgi, Phileleftheros
Governance & Power Sharing

OVERVIEW

Both Haravgi and Phileleftheros report on the decision taken by the plenary of the Turkish Cypriot “assembly” to revoke the immunity of former “prime minister” Huseyin Ozgurgun so that he can be investigated for funds that were not included in the assets declaration filed while he held office.

According to the reports, 41 out of 50 deputies voted for revoking Ozgurgun’s immunity, including deputies from the party that he used to lead, the National Unity Party (UBP). Seven deputies abstained, including Ozgurgun himself and another two deputies from the UBP, as well as Serdar Denktas and two other deputies from the Democratic Party as well as a Republican Turkish Party deputy. Only the deputies of the nationalist Re-birth party voted against.

Both newspapers point out that the developments are connected with reports that UBP deputies are preparing to switch to Denktash’s Democratic Party, which could lead to the ruling alliance between the UBP and Kudret Ozersay’s People’s Party losing its majority.

In a short comment in Alithia, the author points out that the developments in the Turkish Cypriot community show how different they are from Greek Cypriots, implying that in the Greek Cypriot context corruption wouldn’t have been prosecuted in the same way.

In another development, Phileleftheros and Haravgi both report on the letter of congratulations sent by AKEL SG Andros Kyprianou to the newly re-elected leader of the Republican Turkish Party, Tufan Erhurman. Kyprianou congratulates Erhurman, adding that the two parties have a historical responsibility to find ways out during this difficult period.


Turkey begins operation in Syria as Trump faces criticism

Alithia, Cyprus Mail, Haravgi, Phileleftheros, Politis
Regional/International Relations, External Security

OVERVIEW

Alithia and Haravgi present developments in Syria as their main story. Alithia focuses on the regional repercussions, such as the possible increase of refugee flows to countries in Southeastern Europe, as well as what these developments bode for the relationship between Donald Trump and Tayip Erdogan.

Haravgi focuses on the green light given by the United States through the withdrawal of American forces from Syria, pointing out that Turkey will now move against the Syrian Kurdish militia that were central to the defeat of Islamic State.

Phileleftheros focuses on the ramifications that Trump’s handling of the situation has had inside the US, especially regarding his decision for the withdrawal of American forces from Syria.