GCC Press Review 18 Oct 2019

Front Page Headlines


Turks have downed their guns in Syria

Agreement after intervention by the US for a ceasefire in NE Syria. The Kurds’ intentions remained unknown until late last night. Trump: “I thank Erdogan. Millions of lives will be saved.”

  • The measures on the table – Today the European Council’s conclusions. Strong concerns over Syria issue and Turkey.
  • Steel arrow (exercise) – With F16 flights and frigates.
  • He retired upon his election – Clarifications by the Returns Officer on Niyazi (Kizilyurek).


At the final stretch for sanctions

Discussions on the legal procedures start next week in Brussels. They are taking their time to avoid legal complications. Turkish illegal actions before the European Council.

  • Greek F16s and National Guard sent messages
  • File to ‘police’ with threats against Akinci
  • Terms and conditions by TC parties
  • Kofinou is full to the brim, they are going to create a second reception centre (for asylum seekers) – The one in Kokkinotrimithia is being expanded too.
  • Refugee arrivals exceeded 9,000 – Another 21 migrants arrived yesterday from the occupied areas. 1,000 persons more during the first nine months compared to last year.


Entanglements reaching all the way to Cambodia

The interior ministry’s response to the report by Reuters was that it does not comment on “isolated cases”, basically confirming the granting of “golden passports”, not “isolated” but to members of the elite and family circle of the Cambodian prime minister.

  • Turkey-US reached an understanding on Syria

Cyprus Mail

Brexit deal clinched, PM seeks approval

Reworked deal approved by EU leaders, Labour and DUP say they will reject agreement.

  • Greek jet fighters take part in exercise
  • Turkey, US agree ceasefire in Syria


A Brexit deal that raises questions

After days of intense negotiations, the agreement on a smooth divorce between UK and EU has been achieved but it still needs to be ratified. Tomorrow Saturday the most critical test: The British Parliament decides ‘Yes’ or ‘No’.

  • “Thank you, Mr Erdogan…” – Trump congratulates the Turkish president on the ceasefire agreement on Syria. After the American president’s tirade, praises followed.
  • We made it with the direct trade issue – It remains on ice.
  • Greek wings with ‘Steel arrow’ – “Excellent cooperation”.
  • DIKO’s triptych: Statements by Nicolas (Papadopoulos)
  • Niyazi Kizilyurek: Resignation or retirement (from the University of Cyprus)?

Main News

European leaders adopt measures on Turkey’s EEZ activities

Alithia, Cyprus Mail, Haravgi, Phileleftheros, Politis
EU Matters, Energy, Regional/International Relations, Citizenship & Migration


The European Council endorsed the EU’s Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) conclusions on Turkey’s illegal drilling in the EEZ and reaffirmed its solidarity with Cyprus, according to the conclusions adopted after the first day of the EU leaders Summit in Brussels on Thursday, the Cyprus Mail online reported on Friday morning.

The European Council adopted conclusions on Turkey, the illegal drilling activities and the downing of flight MH17.

On the illegal drilling activities, the EU leaders said: “The European Council endorses the Council conclusions of 14 October 2019 on Turkeyʼs illegal drilling activities in Cyprusʼ Exclusive Economic Zone and reaffirms its solidarity with Cyprus,” adding that “the European Council will remain seized of this matter.”

The conclusions text also referred to migration, saying the EU “remains engaged in its efforts towards effectively addressing the serious humanitarian and refugee crisis in light of evolving needs, including by supporting those Member States that are facing the most serious challenges in terms of migratory flows in the Eastern Mediterranean”, the online portal reported.

Friday’s papers reported that the European Council’s conclusions were expected to ratify Monday’s decision by FAC on measures against persons and companies involved in Turkey’s drilling activities off Cyprus.

Phileleftheros, citing sources, reports that the consultations at RELEX (Working Party of Foreign Relations Counsellors) on the legal aspect of the measures will start next week.

Well-informed sources told the daily that as the issue is unique (sui generis), time is needed to properly process the matter to avoid legal complications. It is expected that the legal procedures will be completed within November and after that, the procedure will be launched to fill the ’empty annex’, which is the list on which the names of persons and companies subject to the measures will be added.

The issue of Turkey’s illegal actions are also expected to be discussed at the European Parliament plenary session of November 13 with an intervention on behalf of High Representative Federica Mogherini, the paper reported.

According to Politis, the US-Turkey consultations that led to the agreement for ceasefire in Syria had delayed the discussion on the Cyprus problem at the working dinner of the European Council. Thursday’s dinner discussion was mostly focused on the Syria issue.

Government sources told Politis late on Thursday that it was expected that the European leaders would adopt FAC’s conclusions on restrictive measures concerning Turkey’s illegal activities while President Nicos Anastasiades was to brief in detail his counterparts on the matter but also on the issue of Varosha and the latest developments on the Cyprus problem.

Anastasiades’ aim was to link Turkish activities in the Cypriot exclusive economic zone and the Aegean with Turkey’s plans in the wider area that aim at destabilizing the region and causing tensions, Politis reported.

Meanwhile, most papers reported that the heads of the European Parliament (EP) groups have agreed to freeze the issue of the regulation on direct trade with the occupied areas.

European Council (EU leaders)
Endorses FAC’s conclusions on Turkeyʼs illegal drilling activities in Cyprusʼ EEZ & reaffirms its solidarity with Cyprus. It will continue to monitor the issue.
>> Aims to address the serious humanitarian and refugee crisis in light of evolving needs, including supporting member states facing the most serious challenges in terms of migratory flows in the East Med.

Greek F16s in Cyprus for military exercise

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


Greek fighter jets participated for the first time in 19 years in a joint exercise with the National Guard on Thursday with the defence minister clarifying however this was not in response to Turkey’s activities in Cyprus’ EEZ, the papers report.

According to the papers, three Greek F16 fighter jets took part in a National Guard exercise dubbed ‘Steel Arrow’ which took place at Kalo Chorio firing range in Larnaca.

The National Guard’s helicopters, artillery, and tanks also took part in the exercise.

Defence Minister Savvas Angelides said the F-16s’ participation was not only symbolic, although the exercise was also not a response to Turkish provocations in Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone.

He said the exercises were part of the National Guard’s obligation to maintain its capability of deterrence at the highest possible level.

Angelides said the armed forces from Greece took part in the last phase, as part of the two countries’ military cooperation, arguing Cyprus has such cooperation with many countries with which at times it engages in joint exercises.

Greece’s Defence Minister Nikos Panayiotopoulos said his country wants the F16s to participate in exercises and not parades.

Cyprus Mail reports that TC ‘foreign minister’ Kudret Ozersay said that his office has filed a protest with the UN regarding a violation of what he called ‘TRNC airspace’ by the Greek fighter jets, saying in a social media post that they flew low over the occupied areas before returning to their base in Crete.

Phileleftheros reports that AKEL reacted to the presence of the F16s at the exercise.

AKEL Limassol MP Giorgos Georgiou said during a CyBC TV programme that the parties had not been informed of the participation of the Greek fighter jets at the exercise and wondered what their presence aimed at.

“I hope all these are not for serving internal consumption because this government loves military exercises and armament issues,” Georgiou said, according to the paper.

According to Phileleftheros, with the presence of the Greek F16s Nicosia and Athens sent a message both internally and abroad. Athens’ move entertained reactions stirred after the absence of the fighter jets from this year’s October 1 parade in Nicosia for the Republic of Cyprus’ Independence Day, it said. Despite the fact the exercise had been organised months ago, there were concerns that the fighter jets might not show up, the daily said. Phileleftheros also reports that this is the first time in 19 years Greek fighter jets participate in an exercise in Cyprus after the ‘Nikiforos-Toxotis’ exercise of 2000

DIKO: ‘Solution with the right content & cost to Turkey’

Alithia, Haravgi, Phileleftheros
Governance & Power Sharing, Negotiations Process


The dailies report that DIKO leader Nicolas Papadopoulos analysed during a press conference on Thursday his party’s proposed policy as regards the Cyprus problem.

The DIKO leader said his party wants: a solution with the right content; to incur a political, diplomatic and financial cost to Turkey; and to defend and reinforce the Republic of Cyprus and ensure its continuation. He also warned that any other policy that downplays and ignores the negative and blackmailing environment shaped by Turkey, will lead to a bad solution and a new dead end.

Analysing DIKO’s proposal, Papadopoulos said Nicosia must methodically and consistently seek measures and sanctions by the EU against Turkey over her illegal activities in the Cypriot EEZ. The measures could target Turkey but also persons and companies and must concern freezing accession funds and generally causing political, diplomatic and financial cost to the extent possible.

Cyprus ought to insist on implementing its energy programme while reinforcing relations with Greece, Egypt and Israel in all fields including defence and security.

While Turkey is exclusively to blame for the non-solution to the Cyprus problem, the GC side remains hostage to its failed policy of the last 11 years, he said.

He also said the Terms of Reference will not lead to a proper solution but rather seal a series of fundamental concessions by the GC side while they do not address the issue of security and guarantees.

For DIKO, he said, any initiative for a trilateral meeting within a negotiation climate based on the terror Turkey is spreading would be a huge mistake let alone one for a five-party meeting.

When such a climate prevails who naively believes Turkey will be brought to her knees, he asked. Papadopoulos argued that the opposite will happen because the GCs will send out the message that Turkey’s policy of threatening violence is working.

He warned that if the GC side goes to a trilateral meeting on Turkey’s terms, “we will start with a massive retreat before we even sit at the negotiating table.

According to Haravgi, Papadopoulos said he rejects the Guterres Framework. He also criticized Anastasiades for his lack of strategy and contradictory messages that led to undesirable results at the European and international level.

According to the daily, Papadopoulos also slammed political equality, accusing the TCs of seeking numerical equality.

In another article, Phileleftheros reports that TC parties have announced their framework of demands ahead of the meeting between the two leaders in November.

The right-wing sets as a condition for the Cyprob talks to have a new basis while the left wants first an agreement on political equality, the paper reports.

Papadopoulos (DIKO)
Wants solution with the right content; to incur political, diplomatic & financial cost on Turkey; to defend, reinforce & ensure continuation of RoC.
>> RoC ought to methodically & consistently seek EU measures & sanctions against Turkey over EEZ actions.
>> Measures could target Turkey, persons & companies, but must also include freezing EU accession funds.
>> RoC ought to continue implementing its energy programme & reinforcing relations with Greece, Egypt & Israel, including in defence and security.
>> ToR won’t lead to proper solution but will seal a series of fundamental concessions by GC side without addressing the issue of security & guarantees.
>> Huge mistake to go to trilateral or five-party meeting under current climate of terror created by Turkey. Will send message that threats of violence work.
>> Rejects the Guterres Framework.
>> TCs, through their political equality demands, want to secure numerical equality.
>> Anastasiades has no strategy while his contradictory messages led to undesirable results at European & international level.

Akinci reports death threats

Alithia, Cyprus Mail, Haravgi, Phileleftheros, Politis
Internal Security


According to the dailies, TC leader Mustafa Akinci filed reports to the police after receiving death threats.

Akinci’s associates handed over to authorities in the north a file with information on insults and death threats made against him on social media from persons in Turkey and the occupied areas that reportedly reached around 6,000 between Sunday and Tuesday.

Politis also spoke to TCs most of whom said they did not agree with Erdogan’s actions and the invasion in Syria.

The respondents, who wished to remain anonymous, told Politis they agreed with Akinci’s statements and that what is happening in Syria was a reminder of what took place in Cyprus in 1974.

Hamit told the daily that Erdogan does what he wants and Turkey did the same to Cyprus. He wondered if those who want Akinci dead looked into how many children and civilians are being killed just because Erdogan said so.

“How can a two-year-old child be a terrorist?” Ezil asked, commenting on Erdogan’s claims he was fighting terrorism.

Semci said that this was no way of fighting terrorism and that Erdogan’s solution would have no results.

Another man, Ahmet, defended Erdogan saying Akinci forgets that the Turkish president is the only one supporting the TCs.

Concerns over constant arrival of migrants

Haravgi, Phileleftheros
Migration & Citizenship, Internal Security


According to the dailies, 21 more migrants arrived early on Thursday.

They are believed to have crossed from the occupied areas to the Sopaz area in Nicosia.

The majority come from African countries. Among them are a minor and a pregnant woman who was taken to hospital for precautionary reasons.

Phileleftheros reports that the latest arrival raises the number of migrants arriving so far this year to over 9,000.

Police spokesman Christos Andreou said arrivals of refugees and migrants either by sea or through the occupied areas are an almost daily occurrence, the paper reported.

Citing data by the interior ministry, the paper reports that the figures show an upward trend. In 2016, 2,936 migrants arrived in Cyprus, 4,582 in 2017,  7,761 last year and 8,629 so far this year.

With 1,000 persons arriving on average each month this year, the situation is spiralling out of control, the paper said, adding that the interior ministry is openly seeking help from the EU for equal distribution of refugees based on each country’s population.

The majority of refugees arrive from Syria followed by Georgia, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, the paper reports.

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