GCC Press Review 12 Nov 2019

Front Page Headlines

Politis

Possible criminal responsibilities will not be overlooked

The interior minister clarifies the mandate of the three-member committee. In the case of a decision for passport revocation, a probe will be carried out also on who did not do their job well. Within the days the third member of the committee will be appointed by the Attorney-general.

  • Sanctions: Green light by the EU
  • Occupied areas: Book on the ‘bad’ GCs
  • DEFA (Natural Gas Public Company): In London for LNG

Phileleftheros

They proceed with a list of names

The legal framework of sanctions against Turkey after the decision by the EU FMs is now a fact. Freezing of accounts of legal and natural persons. Which countries backed the Republic of Cyprus at the discussion in Brussels.

  • 57.2 per cent of Cypriots wish a unitary state
  • Ozersay insists on the opening of Famagusta – He went to Cavusoglu.
  • Remains of fallen persons found in a makeshift grave in Pachyammos

Haravgi

They go back on what they said, and there will not be a probe

There will not be a probe on citizenships after all, neither for the Cambodians, nor the Malaysian, or the Archbishop’s involvement nor for anyone else… The task of the three-member committee will be, as the government spokesman said, to carry out internal audit and there will not be a probe for any administrative, political or criminal responsibilities.

  • “If and when…” measures against Turkey, says Mogherini
  • The president maintains the toxic climate instead of focusing on the trilateral meeting

Cyprus Mail

Complaints over passport probe

Opposition in uproar over limited scope of government committee on naturalisations.

  • EU agrees sanctions on Turkey
  • Turkey begins repatriation of IS women, children

Alithia

‘No’ to strikes and to AKEL

A responsible stance by 55% of secondary education teachers in yesterday’s referendum on the four-monthly exams. The attempt to lead education again in adventures and turbulence failed, although the baton in the race against the exams is now in the hands of (student body) PSEM. After yesterday’s result, (secondary education teachers’ union) OELMEK sets its stance against the exams with its chairman reassuring its unity is not threatened.

  • Ban on entry, freezing of property – The EU FMs approved the measures against persons and entities involved in Turkish drilling. Angry reaction by the Turkish foreign ministry against the EU and threats that Turkey will continue her activities ‘unobstructed’.

Main News

Satisfaction over EU approval of sanctions over Turkish actions in Cypriot EEZ

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

OVERVIEW

The EU foreign ministers approved the framework for sanctions against persons and companies involved in Turkey’s drillings off Cyprus, the dailies report on Tuesday.

President Nicos Anastasiades welcomed the development while Turkey said this would not stop her energy exploration programme.

The Foreign Affairs Council announced on Monday they adopted the framework for restrictive measures in response to Turkey’s unauthorised drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean allowing for sanctions on individuals or entities responsible for or involved in these hydrocarbon drilling activities.

The sanctions concern travel ban to the EU and an asset freeze for persons, and an asset freeze for entities. In addition, EU persons and entities will be forbidden from making funds available to those listed.

According to the framework for restrictive measures, subject to sanctions are persons or entities responsible for drilling activities related to hydrocarbon exploration and production not authorised by Cyprus within its territorial sea, exclusive economic zone (EEZ) or continental shelf. This also concerns areas where the EEZ or continental shelf has not been delimited in accordance with international law since such activities may jeopardize or hamper the reaching of such a delimitation agreement, the Council said.

Subject to sanctions are also persons or entities providing financial, technical or material support for these drilling activities and persons or entities associated with them.

The announcement said this decision was a direct follow-up to the Council conclusions of October 14, 2019, which were endorsed by the European Council on 17-18 October 2019, when the EU reaffirmed its full solidarity with Cyprus, regarding the respect of its sovereignty and sovereign rights in accordance with international law and invited the Commission and the European External Action Service to submit proposals for a framework for restrictive measures.

The Council reiterated the serious immediate negative impact that such illegal actions have across the range of EU-Turkey relations and called again on Turkey to refrain from such actions, act in a spirit of good neighbourliness and respect the sovereignty and sovereign rights of Cyprus in accordance with international law.

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs  Federica Mogherini said the next step would be adding names on the list of those subject to the sanctions.

“We will see if and when there will be such proposals which will be examined by relevant working groups and possibly by the Council itself,” she added.

The dailies report that Anastasiades said in a tweet after the decision was announced that he was satisfied with the decision of the EU, “which is actively supporting the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus and legality in Cyprus’ sea.”

Political parties too welcomed the development with some calling for more sanctions against Turkey.

Some of the dailies also report that the Turkish foreign ministry announced that no one should doubt that Turkey will continue her exploration and drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Politis, citing diplomatic sources reported that a list with names of companies and individuals has already been prepared and it will be submitted very soon in order to be looked into by the competent European Council working groups.

Cyprus Mail cites two EU diplomats saying the staggered approach gives Turkey a chance to end what the EU says are “illegal” drilling activities before any measures enter into force.

If sanctions are imposed, the asset freezes and travel bans are likely to target the Turkish military and captains of the drilling ships, the diplomats said, according to the paper.

Phileleftheros reported that Nicosia has secured the opinion of the Council’s legal service according to which any previous contracts of natural or legal persons involved in these unauthorised activities by Turkey must be terminated, without any exceptions, not even for humanitarian reasons. This provision is of huge importance since these previous contracts must not necessarily concern Cyprus, the daily reported.

KEY ACTORS
ΕU Foreign Affairs Council
>>
Adopted the framework for sanctions on individuals or entities responsible for or involved in Turkey’s unauthorised hydrocarbon drilling activities in Cyprus’ territorial sea, EEZ or continental shelf including areas where the EEZ or continental shelf has not been delimited in accordance with international law as it may jeopardize or hamper the reaching of such a delimitation agreement in the future.
>> Reiterates the serious immediate negative impact that Turkish illegal actions have across the range of EU-Turkey relations.
>> Calls again on Turkey to refrain from such actions, act in a spirit of good neighbourliness and respect the sovereignty and sovereign rights of Cyprus in accordance with international law.

Anastasiades
>>
Satisfied with the EU decision which is actively supporting the sovereign rights of the RoC & legality in Cyprus’ sea.

Turkey’s foreign ministry
>>
Turkey will continue her exploration and drilling activities in the East Med.


Majority of GCs prefer a unified state over BBF

Cyprus Mail, Phileleftheros
Governance & Power Sharing, EU Matters

OVERVIEW

The dailies report that according to a survey carried out by the Cyprus Consortium that includes the University of Cyprus and the European University of Cyprus, more GCs want a unified state than a bizonal bicommunal federation (BBF).

According to the results of the European Social Survey (ESS) released on Monday, 57.2 per cent preferred a unified state as the accepted basis for negotiating a Cyprus solution and 27 per cent a BBF. Another 38.1 per cent said they were neither for nor against a BBF while 35 per cent opposed this type of solution.

When it comes to a unified state, in addition to the 57.2 per cent who supported this, 15.4 per cent said they were neither for nor against, while 27.2 opposed this.

On a two-state solution, 72.4 per cent were against this idea while 13.7 per cent said they were neither for nor against it, and 13.9 per cent were in favour.

More than half, 50.8 per cent were not in favour of the status quo while 18 per cent favoured the current situation, and 31.2 said they were neither for nor against it.

Cyprus also remains among the countries with low trust in politicians, parties and institutions but the tendency as regards remaining in the EU, is particularly high, with 85,4 per cent of respondents saying they would vote for Cyprus to remain a member of the bloc in a referendum, the papers report.

The lowest rates on the trust of citizens in institutions concern politicians since only 10.8 per cent said they trust them, and 10.9 per cent said the same for parties with confidence in the Cypriot parliament also remaining low (18.8per cent). As regards trust in politicians Cyprus is second last after Bulgaria.

There has also been an increase in Cypriots’ trust in the UN (35.7 per cent) compared to 2012 (26.8%).

The sample size used was around 800 people and covered all urban and rural areas of Cyprus between October 2018 and April 2019 seeking attitudes towards politics and government. ESS is a pan-European research involving about 30 countries.


Differing opinions by parties over trilateral

Alithia, Haravgi, Phileleftheros, Politis
Negotiations Process

OVERVIEW

According to the dailies, the government and political parties seem to have different ideas as to how to best go about the trilateral meeting later in the month between the two leaders and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

Phileleftheros reports that the agenda of tomorrow’s National Council is expected to include the arrival this week of UN special envoy Jane Holl Lute, the information on Ankara’s reluctance to engage in a five-party meeting at least not before March and the approval by the EU of the sanctions framework over Turkey’s activities off the island.

The dailies also report that the spat between the government and AKEL continues with the main opposition party on Monday calling on President Nicos Anastasiades to prepare for the crucial meeting of November 25 in Berlin instead of focusing on attacking AKEL.

 AKEL spokesman Stefanos Stefanou said that only with clear positions, consistency to what has been agreed and constructive spirit will the GC side shield the justness of its case and reveal Turkey’s true stance.

Ruling DISY called for support to Anastasiades by all parties given the crucial importance of the trilateral. The party also said that AKEL’s targeted effort to harm the president was also harming the GC side’s negotiating position.

Some of the other political parties expressed their opinion on how to handle Turkey and the trilateral.

DIKO leader Nicolas Papadopoulos said that Turkey’s stance shows that the trilateral will do anything but prepare the ground for the restart of the talks.

He expressed his party’s concerns over that the GC side, is without much preparation, being led to a trilateral meeting with questionable results adding that it all points to a new dead end.

EDEK chairman Marinos Sizopoulos said his party will advise the president to go to these meetings with great caution, sobriety and avoid procedures that could land the GC side in adventures.

The Solidarity Movement said the Berlin trilateral was headed to “euthanasia” and that the Presidential Palace and AKEL are leading the people on. The party said it did not believe the trilateral would yield any results.

According to Phileleftheros, the Greens’ leader Giorgos Perdikis will submit to the National Council a proposal on setting a  course on the Cyprus problem.

Politis also reports that despite recent reports mainly within the GC side that the trilateral is a mere formality and is taking place basically because it has been announced, the TC side is preparing with the due seriousness. TC leader Mustafa Akinci had a meeting with his negotiating team ahead of the November 25 meeting as well as with academicians, the daily reported.

Haravgi reports that the government and DISY maintain the toxic climate.

KEY ACTORS
Stefanou (AKEL)
>>
Anastasiades and the government ought to focus on preparing for the trilateral which is a crucial meeting instead of attacking AKEL.
>> The GC side will be able to prove its case & reveal Turkey’s true stance only with clear positions, consistency to what has been agreed & constructive spirit.

DISY
>>
Calls on all parties to back Anastasiades given the crucial importance of the trilateral.
>> AKEL’s effort to harm the president is also harming the GC side’s negotiating position.

Papadopoulos (DIKO)
>>
 Does not believe anything will come out of the trilateral given Turkey’s stance & that the GC side is going to the meeting without much preparation.

Sizopoulos (EDEK)
>>
 Anastasiades ought to go to the trilateral with great caution, sobriety & avoid procedures that could land the GC side in adventures.

Solidarity Movement
>>
Does not believe anything will come out of the trilateral, & feels the Presidential Palace and AKEL are not being honest about it.


Remains of 1964 bombing victims located in Pachyammos

Alithia, Cyprus Mail, Haravgi, Phileleftheros
Human Rights

OVERVIEW

The papers report that Presidential Commissioner Photis Photiou said on Monday that human remains and personal effects thought to belong to GC National Guardsmen were found at the site of a 1964 Turkish aerial bombing in Pachyammos.

The remains have already been delivered to the Institute of Neurology and Genetics for DNA testing and results are expected this week.

The excavation of the site started on October 9 with the search currently focusing around the location of a makeshift hospital in Pachyammos that was hit with napalm incendiary bombs in 1964.  Photiou said it was a painstaking task because of the existence of unexploded munitions believed to have been stored in the area at the time.

The search follows a cabinet decision and focuses on three areas; the location where the Pachyammos hospital used to be, and two sites in the Panayia Chrysopateritissa cemetery, Photiou said.  The project is separate from the ongoing bicommunal programme to locate and identify missing persons from the intercommunal troubles of the 1960s and the Turkish invasion, the dailies report.

Photiou said some of the remains belonging to the medics killed in the attack have been buried at the Paphos cemetery. He said some 12 or 13 people were killed when a napalm bomb levelled the house used as a hospital.