GCC Press Review 22 Oct 2019

Front Page Headlines


Leaks to the tune of millions for municipalities’ water

Taxpayers fall victims to bad water management by local authorities. We paid €19m for debts of communities to the Water Development Department but they still won’t pay. €10m by the state to Aradippou soon for ‘water costs’.

  • Syrian issue: Syria’s ‘key’ lies with Moscow


The natural disasters fund crashed

€15m this year for crop damage excluding those caused after Sunday’s rain. The new agricultural insurance system’s limits are being tested, after the closure of OGA (agricultural insurance organisation)

  • They are facing difficulties again at Yavuz – Erdogan’s political expediencies put his ships in trouble. Deviations due to problems in drilling.
  • Ozersay’s party in free fall
  • Ankara escalates tensions in the Mediterranean
  • Crucial meeting between Erdogan and Putin today – The truce ends tonight.


Unforgivable inaction on halloumi

The government’s inaction allows the usurpers of Cypriot halloumi to cause legal and other problems in its registration and protection. The government is being called to immediately register and certify halloumi as a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) product, ensuring its Cypriot origin at the European and wider level.

  • Concern expressed by Spehar due to the uncertainty of prospects for restart of talks

Cyprus Mail

Counting cost of crop damage

Storms totally destroy crops, complaints over shoddy infrastructure.

  • Greek Cypriot returns north after building home
  • Government pushing for Greek ferry service
  • US considers troops in Syria to protect oil


Division is back

Public opinion is divided over the return of Nikolas Skourides in his village under Turkish administration. We are reliving the days of 2003 after the crossings opened. Some are in favour of Skourides’ return and others against. Intervention by Takis Hadjidemetriou: “If the leadership does not solve the Cyprus problem then each person will solve it, as as they see fit…” A pensioner couple from Lysi also settled in their village. Skourides: I am 79-years-old, I want to die where I was born. I have beautiful memories of my village.

  • Cyprus problem: It will come as a surprise if the trilateral does not take place. Concerns by Spehar.
  • The process for a new leader starts – ‘Elections’ in the occupied areas.
  • Deputy Ministry of Shipping: Full speed ahead for the Cyprus–Greece ferry connection
  • Putin-Erdogan meet today – A lot is at stake in the Syria crisis. New accusations by the Turkish president against the West.

Main News

Spehar: Concerns over talks’ prospects but most GCs & TCs desire peace

Alithia, Cyprus Mail, Haravgi, Phileleftheros, Politis
Negotiations Process


The dailies on Tuesday report on the concerns expressed by the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative, Elizabeth Spehar, over the uncertainty on prospects for the resumption of talks.

Meanwhile, the government said it would come as a surprise if the trilateral meeting between the UN Secretary-General and the two leaders did not take place.

According to the dailies Spehar, said on Friday during an event, that the UN remains deeply committed to peace in Cyprus and in assisting both the leaders as well as the women and men of Cyprus to pave the way ahead to a brighter, shared future for all.

Spehar said that these were crucial times, both for the island and the region. “While uncertainty regarding the prospects for the resumption of the negotiations remains a concern, recent polling demonstrates that the desire for peace among the majority of Cypriots in both communities endures and has grown even stronger,” Spehar said.

The papers also cite the Cyprus News Agency that quoted a government source saying it would come as a surprise if a trilateral between UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the two leaders did not take place. What is expected is for the time and place of the meeting to be finalised, the same source told CNA.

During the trilateral according to Politis, UN Secretary General Guterres’ aim is to reach the greatest possible common ground between Anastasiades and Akinci on the Terms of Reference, so that the meeting ends with a clear common understanding on the content. Politis notes that while a statement may be published after the conclusion of the meeting, it is unlikely that the content of an agreement, if reached, will be formally made public. This is so that it can be put on the table at the informal five party meeting (expected in December) where the ToR will be officially ‘locked’ with agreement from all sides.

Spehar (UN)
UN remains deeply committed to the cause of peace on Cyprus & UNFICYP plays a vital role in support of the talks.
>> While uncertainty on the prospects for the resumption of the talks remains a concern, the majority of GCs & TCs desire peace more than even according to recent polling.

Turkish drillship in block 7 experiencing problems

Energy, External Security, Regional/International Relations


According to the paper, Turkish drillship Yavuz which has been sent in Cyprus’ offshore block 7 is experiencing technical problems due to its inexperienced staff, the lack of equipment and expert subcontractors.

Until Monday, Yavuz’s sudden moves while attempting to carry out drilling showed that it faces problems with the axis of the drill shaft, the paper reported. Kicks by the drill shaft caused the boat to move in a circular course of up to 350 meters in diameter, thereby interrupting drilling efforts which restarted yesterday, the daily reported. These moves forced support vessel ‘Ertugrul Bey’ to move some 600 meters from Yavuz for safety purposes, Phileleftheros reports.

Citing information, the daily also reported that the Fatih drillship which is operating west of Paphos is concluding its second drilling attempt soon without much success.

In another article Phileleftheros reports that Erdogan announced an exercise off the Greek island of Rhodes sending the message that just because they are dealing with Syria now it does not mean they have neglected their plans on the Eastern Mediterranean.

Decisions by courts in north have no power

Property, Human Rights


The daily, citing Yeni Duzen online, reports that the ‘supreme court’ in the north rejected an appeal by GC owners of property in Varosha who were asking for an annulment of a 2005 decision ruling in which GC properties in the closed-off city of Varosha were Vakif land.

Famagusta mayor Simos Ioannou told Haravgi that the municipality would look into how to handle the matter since the decision comes from a non-recognised court and such decisions have no power. According to Haravgi, Ioannou said that in such cases, the Immovable Property Commission can issue opinions which can then be appealed to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

Skourides’ return sparks debate

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


All dailies, citing the interview by Nikolas Skourides with Yeni Duzen, report that the elderly man returned to his village in the north in which he had lived up until the age of 34.

Skourides told Phileleftheros that he now lives permanently in his house in Larnakas tis Lapithou but that he crosses often to see his doctors due to some health issues he is facing.

According to Alithia that has the story as its main item, Skourides’ return to his village brings back memories when in 2003 the public opinion was divided by the opening of the crossings. Under the headline, ‘Division is back’, Alithia, citing posts on social media, reports that public opinion appears to be divided again this time on Skourides’ return to his village while the Cyprus problem remains unsolved.

But Skourides is not the first GC to return to his village, the paper said, adding that a pensioner GC couple has been living for quite some time in Lysi. The couple rent a house in their village since Turkish nationals live in their home, the paper reported.

According to the paper, a GC lawyer has also opened an office recently in the north while information says that other GCs are interested in similar ventures either through cooperation with TCs or on their own initiative.

Just as in 2003 when the citizens finally gave the solution, the same is expected to happen now, Alithia said, citing GC head of the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage Takis Hadjidemetriou saying that unless the leadership solves the Cyprus problem then each person will solve it as they see fit.

Among the detractors is journalist Lazaros Mavros who criticises a man who welcomed Skourides’ decision to return to his village. Mavros ironically asked why shouldn’t all Cypriots bring about the solution themselves now by moving back to their villages just as Skourides did, under Turkish administration and accept Turkish administration throughout the island.

A woman was quoted by Alithia saying she felt jealous and that many times she asked herself why not her too?

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