GCC Press Review 23 Oct 2019

Front Page Headlines


Political storm over the Cambodian expats

AKEL demands explanations for the citizenships and points the finger at Marios Demetriades (former Transport Minister) . The first to get the citizenship was the wife of Cambodia’s police chief. He issued clean criminal records for himself and his daughters.

  • Lute is coming again – Juncker’s disappointment over the Cyprus problem.
  • Green Line: Technology and patrols
  • Participation in the production of UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles)
  • ‘Yes’ to the safe zone – Joint patrols by Turks and Russians in Syria. Putin and Trump agreed on another 150-hour truce.


They are proceeding with the empty annex

Time for measures against Turkey. The competent EU working group is in the process of approval. Two drafts are being vetted and then headed to COREPER.

  • They cut the allowance of a (missing person’s) mother – Her missing son’s deposits were to blame.
  • Crucial appointment at the ECHR for properties
  • Turkey (geographically) separates Cyprus and Greece with exercises
  • Dynamic course for Akinci, fall for Ozersay
  • The Kurds are again paying the price – Putin-Erdogan reached an agreement.


The Cambodians… are putting the president and the cabinet on the spot

Burning revelations but also agonising questions in relation to the ‘golden’ passports given to the elite of the Cambodian regime. According to reports, the applications for the Cambodians’ naturalisations were filed by a big Paphos law office that belongs to the father and family of a former minister.

  • New Turkish Navtex messages reserve the EEZ area for navy exercises
  • Government incapability and responsibilities for the registration of halloumi
  • The ‘Sochi Memorandum’ in effect

Cyprus Mail

Brexit in chaos after latest vote

Over to EU on Brexit delay, Johnson says after parliament rejects swift decision.


Akinci is the favourite!

According to a new poll by Kibris, the TC leader has a big lead in TCs’ preferences against all other possible candidates, for re-election for the ‘presidency’ in the occupied areas. Erhurman comes second while Ankara’s chosen one, Kudret Ozersay, and the president of the settlers’ party Erhan Arikli come last. Ozersay: From 11,4 per cent, he dropped to 4,8 per cent.

  • Lute: She is coming in November to prepare the ground for the trilateral
  • Defence Minister: We threw 7,400 tonnes of expired ammunition into the sea (between 1980 and 1993)
  • Reassessment: Is the Green Line Regulation changing?
  • Clarifications (to be given) by the ECHR – Property status in Varosha.
  •  New agreement by Erdogan and Putin on Syria

Main News

Lute back in Cyprus ahead of trilateral meeting

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


All papers report on Wednesday that UN special envoy Jane Holl Lute is expected to arrive in November to prepare the ground ahead of the trilateral meeting later in the month between UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the two leaders.

Most dailies cite a source that told the Cyprus News Agency that it appears that it is possible for the Terms of Reference (ToR) for the resumption of talks to be recorded so that this issue is closed. The source said it seems the path to resuming negotiations is a visible one and that Guterres’ involvement is necessary given that Lute’s efforts last month did not bring the desired result which is a conclusion on the ToR.

According to the same source, the UN Secretary-General’s meeting with Anastasiades and Akinci may be conclusive on the ToR but Guterres may wait to announce the terms at the informal five-party meeting expected to take place in December. The EU is expected to participate at the five-party meeting as an observer, the source said.

It also said that the GC side has made it clear to the UN that the ToR will be agreed upon by the two sides, but it would also be good for the guarantor powers to commit to what has been agreed by the two leaders. This is also aimed at preventing the possibility of the Turkish side raising the issue of a solution model other than that of a bi-communal, bi-zonal federation (BBF), the source said.

Politis reports that the trilateral will not be just a typical meeting since Guterres will seek for the two leaders to address the disagreements they have been putting forth for months. Although no announcement on the terms is expected after the tripartite, Guterres will have a clearly recorded picture of the details he will put before the guarantors at the informal five-party meeting. According to the daily the ToR will be presented to the guarantor powers with the aim of getting their approval so that the way is paved for the relaunch of substantive talks.

The EU will not participate in this informal meeting but will be present in the sense that if a need arises its contribution will be requested, Politis reports.

Most dailies also report that outgoing EU Commission President Jean Claude Juncker reiterated on Tuesday that among the greatest disappointments of his term was failure to achieve progress as regards the reunification of Cyprus. Juncker referred to lost time and inability in reaching an agreement during the talks in Switzerland.

The papers also report that Cyprus’ Permanent Representative to the UN Andreas Mavroyiannis has strongly protested the continuing violations of the national airspace and territorial waters of Cyprus by Turkey, as well as the infringements by the latter of international air traffic regulations. In a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Mavroyiannis said the Republic of Cyprus appeals for the immediate cessation of Turkey’s actions and reiterates its call to respect Security Council resolutions and adhere to the principles of sovereignty and non-interference enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations.

The letter said that Turkey continued during July and August to systematically harass civilian and military aircrafts within the Nicosia Flight Information Region via radio calls while, during the same period, the regime installed by the occupying power in the area of Cyprus that it occupies, has illegally issued three notices to airmen relating to exercises conducted by the Turkish Air Force.

Mavroyiannis (Cyprus Permanent Rep to the UN)
Wants UN to intervene so that Turkey stops her continuing violations of Cyprus’ airspace and territorial waters & harassment of civilian and military aircraft within the Nicosia FIR.

Procedures for list of EU sanctions set in motion

Alithia, Haravgi, Phileleftheros, Politis
EU Matters, Energy, Regional/International Relations


Phileleftheros reports that the process for the approval of the empty annex, the list of names of persons and companies subject to EU sanctions for their involvement in Turkey’s drillings in Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ),  has started.

Citing sources the daily reported that RELEX (Working Party of Foreign Relations Counsellors) has made preliminary readings of two relevant documents; (a) a draft decision tabled by the European External Action Service (EEAS) on the establishment of a new EU autonomous restrictive regime for Turkey’s illegal actions in the Cyprus EEZ and (b) an Implementing Regulation submitted by the Commission.

The two documents are now being vetted while the member states are expected to submit their positions, the paper reports.

The aim is for RELEX to agree on both drafts which will then have to be approved by COREPER (Committee of Permanent Representatives) and adopted at political level by the Council within November, something the Cypriot foreign ministry is seeking, Phileleftheros reported.

After the ’empty annex’ has been set up, the EEAS and the member states will be able to submit proposals for inclusion in the list of legal and natural persons involved in Turkey’s illegal activities in the Cypriot EEZ. The list with names must then be agreed on by RELEX, approved by COREPER and adopted by the European Council, the paper reports.

As regards legal persons, sanctions will enable the freezing of their assets, which will also apply to natural persons of European nationality. Third-country nationals will be subject to a ban of entry into the EU and freezing of any assets they may have within European territory.

Politis, Alithia and Haravgi report that President of the European Council Donald Tusk reaffirmed during the European Parliament’s plenary session in Strasbourg the European Council’s full solidarity with Cyprus in connection with Turkey’s illegal drilling.

Haravgi also reports that the leader of the Socialist and Democrats’ group in the European Parliament, Iratxe García Pérez sent a message of solidarity to Cyprus saying that they would not allow Turkey to continue illegal drilling in the EEZ and that Cyprus’ sovereignty must be respected.

Assessment of Green Line Regulation to tackle food safety, migrant issues

Alithia, Cyprus Mail, Haravgi, Politis
CBMs, Economy, Internal Security, Migration & Citizenship


All dailies report that Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides said on Tuesday the Green Line Regulation was being assessed to make its implementation more effective but also strengthen checks.

Speaking at the foreign and European affairs committee of the House of representatives, Christodoulides said the effort is a cooperation of his ministry with the ministries of interior and defence but also other competent state services. He was briefing MPs on the 15th EU report on the application of the Green Line Regulation.

Christodoulides said the government has raised with the EU the issue of reverse trade for the transfer of goods from the south of the island to the north while the European Commission has sounded out Cyprus about the transport of processed products from the north such as fruit juices and tahini. Christodoulides said the government is treating this with great reluctance, caution and reservation arguing that consumer safety is a top priority.

Politis reported that among the issues for which concerns have been raised are the increase in arrivals of irregular migrants through the buffer zone, smuggling of products through unguarded parts of the buffer zone, and the promotion in the market of fruit and vegetables imported from Turkey that are ‘baptised’ as TC produce.

The European Commission is once more reiterating the need for improvement of parameters concerning the crossing of trucks which it believes would help intensify trade between the two communities, the paper reported.

Officials of the customs department told MPs checks are being carried out round the clock to make sure products coming through the north bear the necessary documents issued by the TC Chamber of Commerce. They said that on one occasion carrots produced in Turkey were discovered which were seized and destroyed while the transporter was fined.

MPs heard that there was a 1.4 per cent increase last year in the value of merchandise that crossed the green line from the north, reaching €4.85m compared to €4.79m in 2016.

Christodoulides also referred to the issue of irregular migration through the buffer zone.

With regards to irregular migrants from the north, according to figures given in the report, in 2018, 4,451 irregular migrants crossed compared to 1,686 in 2017 with most migrants coming from Syria, Cameroon, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Iraq.

Christodoulides said there are many procedures underway as regards individuals who do not need to stay, giving as example an agreement signed with Georgia. He said checks as regards university students have been enhanced. He added that another problem is that Turkey does not implement the readmission agreement with the EU as regards Cyprus since it does not recognise the Republic of Cyprus. Moreover, he said that efforts are made to step up the procedures for asylum applicants so that Cyprus will not be considered an attractive destination for immigrants.

Politis reports that competent authorities speak of targeted transportations from Turkey of irregular migrants who arrive through ercan (tymbou) airport and are led to the crossings. Once they cross, they file for asylum.

Sources within the interior ministry expressed concerns about the increased migrant flows through the occupied areas that have tripled lately, the paper reported, adding that there are many gaps that need to be addressed. The same sources told Politis that among the changes discussed is patrols along the buffer zone in cooperation with the National Guard (NG) and UNFICYP to send out the message it is not easy for one to cross while state-of-the-art cameras will monitor the Green Line.

Defence R&D department set up to draw EU funds

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

According to the papers, Defence Minister Savvas Angelides said his ministry has set up a research and innovation department aimed at fostering synergies with defence-related industries and research centres to propose projects eligible for EU funds.

The minister said after briefing the House of representatives commerce and industry committee that Cyprus needs to be ready to draw funds from the €13bn to be disbursed via the European Defence Fund for the period 2021-2027.

The aim is to upgrade the armed forces, with assistance from Cypriot industry in matters of technology, and in partnership with other EU member states in specific programmes, he said. He gave as examples the design and manufacture of unmanned vehicles, and projects for developing weapons systems technologies.

The head of the Committee, DISY MP Andreas Kyprianou said the EU’s PESCO (Permanent Structured Cooperation) provides many opportunities to develop Cypriot industry and to attract to Cyprus outstanding scientists and top minds.

AKEL MP Costas Costa said the government should first look to what it can do about the issue of the Science & Technology Park it said it would set up in Pentakomo, a project that has been pending for years, “before considering whether we are capable of developing a high-tech defence industry.”

Cyprus Mail reports that it is understood that Cyprus is participating in eight PESCO projects, including the Joint EU Intelligence School which, according to media reports, will be based in either Cyprus or Greece. The school will train intelligence staff and work on building new military hardware. But critics say programmes like PESCO will see nations effectively subcontract their militaries out to the EU, thus ceding their sovereignty, the daily reported.

Haravgi reported that the government is aiming at research and development along the lines of  PESCO which is NATO’s ‘subsidiary’ in Europe. The daily recalled that the European Council had said recently that it was in close cooperation with NATO.

Varosha property status will be addressed by ECHR

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


The papers report on the decision this week by the ‘supreme court’ in the north concerning the property status of land in Varosha which among other things recognised the validity of title deeds issued by the Republic of Cyprus up to August 1974.

Lawyer Achilleas Demetriades told Alithia and Phileleftheros that despite that the ‘court’ rejected the appeal filed by GCs seeking an annulment of a 2005 decision ruling in which GC properties in the closed-off city of Varosha were Vakif (Evkaf) land, this was based on the recognition of GC title deeds filed with the Immovable Property Commission.

The lawyer said this was very important because it extinguishes Evkaf’s argument on their so-called claims on Varosha properties.

Demetriades said however that the issue is a complicated one and that the final answers would be given by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in the well-known case of Varosha properties but also in another case concerning property in Nicosia.

He said Turkey must submit her positions to the ECHR by November 4 and 5 respectively.

Phileleftheros reports that the timing of the decision has special significance because it basically recognises indirectly the title deeds. This development is expected to have its impact on the forthcoming examination by the ECHR of the appeal by GCs on the ownership status of the closed-off area of Famagusta, the paper said.

Alithia and Phileleftheros also report that the Bicommunal Famagusta Initiative said in an announcement that after discussing the recent developments, especially on the issue of Varosha, its members express disappointment with the claim that the closed-off town is Vakif land. The group said Varosha should be returned to its permanent owners and notes that Resolutions 580 and 786 are mandatory. “This is also reflected in the latest UN Security Council decisions,” the group said.

The initiative said their vision is for a “great Famagusta” that will function as a unified cooperation area where both communities will live, extending from Dherynia to ancient Salamis. Such a solution for Famagusta will serve as a model of cooperation for the whole of Cyprus, the group said, according to the dailies.

TCs would vote again for Akinci as their leader, poll shows

Alithia, Haravgi, Phileleftheros, Politis
Governance & Power Sharing

The dailies report on the fourth part of a poll carried out by CMIRS (Centre for migration, identity and rights studies) in the north showing TC leader Mustafa Akinci leading the race in the upcoming elections in the TC community.

Citing Kibris, the papers report that Akinci continues to be first among possible candidates for April’s elections.

Despite that he dropped to 31,8% compared to last June’s 33%, he is far ahead of the second in preference Tufan Erhurman, the papers reported.

Alithia, that has the story as its main item, reports that according to the poll, Akinci continues to be the favourite by far while Ankara’s chosen one, Kudret Ozersay, is last in preferences.

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