GCC Press Review 28 Nov 2019

Front Page Headlines


A long murder in an arena of indifference

Stylianos’s death: Perpetrator is known, police oficers and YKE (Social Welfare Services) workers were “observers”. Four YKE care workers suspended due to possible misconduct and perhaps criminal offences. Police kept records and continued its “sleep of the just” without taking any action.

  • NATO: Turkey blocks defence plan
  • European Parliament: Gave the green light to the new Commission


Criminal indifference

Findings on the 15 year old’s death imolicate many at Social Welfare and Police. Utter indifference and failure to assess risks.

  • They chip away at political sanctions against Turkey: Commission prepares contacts in Ankara for new plans on migration – Ursula sents Margaritis Schinas to Ankara to rekindle relationship.
  • Brakes on crossing points: 28.000 third country nationals arrived in one month
  • President (decides) next week: (President) Keeps reshuffle cards close to the chest
  • Poll – evaluation: Christodoulides clear first among government (ministers)
  • Ankara presented list with terms
  • Commission puts us on the spot regarding Natura


Incompetent state is 15 year old’s “murderer”

Utter inaction by (social) services from 2013 to 2019. Blame attributed to social workers and police officers. No responsibility assigned on political level.

  • Green Line becomes “harder”
  • Ibrahim Kalin: “Natural resources a problem while the Cyprus issue remains unsolved”
  • New letter of warning from Commission on Akamas and Natura areas

Cyprus Mail

Teen death was criminal neglect

Damning report says boy’s suicide showed ‘criminal negligence’ by social workers and police officers.

  • Third-country nationals to be barred from entry via north
  • Cyprus: Turkish Cypriot pensioner suing government over Gesy ban
  • Europe: Germany’s Von der Leyen approved as new EU chief


Heads rolled

Ombudswoman’s findings for 15 year old’s suicide paved the way. (Finding) Establishes criminal negligence, misconduct and possible criminal liability for four workers in Social Services and for frontline police officers, as well as possible criminal liability for the 15 year old’s father. (Social welfare minister) Zeta Emilianidou already yesterrday suspended all involved and has appointed an investigative officer that is tasked with the disciplinary inquiry.

  • Government understands and seeks solutions – T/C pensioner lays claim on Gesy coverage through appeal to Supreme Court: His claim had been rejected on the grounds that he does not live in the free areas, despite the fact that he pays contributions. The appeal will be examined on December 3rd.
  • Turkey: Broke its silence over the trilateral. We will support process if and when (it proceeds)
  • Cabinet of Ministers: Measures against illegal migration
  • Stella quits: Changes coming in government and DISY
  • Poll: Citizens’ evaluation of government’s handling ahead of trilateral overwhelmingly positive – The best ministers

Main News

Third-country nationals to be refused Green Line passage from north

Alithia, Cyprus Mail, Haravgi, Phileleftheros, Politis
Migration & Citizenship, EU Matters, Internal Security, CBMs


The Cabinet of Ministers approved of a proposal by Interior Minister Constantinos Petrides to amend the government’s code of implementation of the EU’s Green Line Regulation, Cyprus Mail reports.

Under the new rules, which take effect in a month if there are no objections by the European Commission, third-country nationals will not be able to cross into the government-controlled areas if they have arrived to the island from illegal entry points in the north (such as Tymbou/ Ercan airport).

There will be stricter enforcements of checks in crossing points and monitoring of the buffer zone to prevent passage by irregular migrants. Also, third-country nationals residing in the Republic of Cyprus with temporary residence permits will not be able to cross to the north.

Phileleftheros points out in its report that the decision does not affect European citizens, including Cypriot citizens, and that there will also be special arrangements for specific third countries.

Petrides stated in a press conference that the proposal aims to curb the uncontrolled influx of migrants from third countries through the north. However, the newspaper points out, this ban does not affect asylum seekers. The Interior and Foreign Ministries have also been authorised to submit bills concerning possible penalties and fines relating to illegal entry or exit through unauthorised ports and airports.

Petrides explained that there will be provisions regarding humanitarian cases and medical emergencies, minors and their teachers crossing to the south for events, journalists, and Turkish nationals that visit the Hala Sultan Tekke. Also, minors of any nationality will only be allowed through if accompanied by both parents or with permission from one or both parents.

Cyprus Mail points out that the new measures also affect checks on third-country nationals applying to Cypriot universities even if they enter the RoC legally. The newspaper nots that some colleges have been accused of being a cover for third-country nationals to enter the country and claim asylum or remain illegaly.

Petrides stated that the measures do not address only migration issues, but “public security issues and better monitoring of the interests of the Republic of Cyprus, without violating anything relating to the European asylum system or our obligations towards anyone”. He also said that the checks will be carried out by police at the crossing points, which will be updated and get additional staff.

According to the minister, the new measures are necessary since the situation changed since the opening of the check points. He pointed out that in 2004, the crossings were used by small numbers of G/Cs and T/Cs and a smaller number of other nationals, mainly from the EU.

Haravgi and Alithia report that on Wednesday, Turkish Cypriot business organisations protested in the northern side of the Agios Dometios checkpoint, complaining about the delays and problems people have to face when crossing from one side to the other. Enver Mamulcu from the T/C industrial chamber (ISAD) stated that they have been expressing their displeasure for a long time but the “government” has not taken action to properly staff the crossing points.

Petrides (Interior Minister)
>>The measures will not violate provisions regarding European asylum or the RoC’s obligations.
>> Checks will be made at the crossing points by police. Crossing points will be reconfigured and betteer staffed.
>> There must be stricter controls and adequate checkss based on the Green Line Regulation itself.

Turkey offers conditional support to process while international actors hail Berlin trilateral

Alithia, Haravgi, Phileleftheros, Politis
Negotiation Process


All newspapers report on statements made by the Turkish President’s spokesperson, Ibrahim Kalin, following the Berlin meeting between Guterres, Anastasiades and Akinci. Kalin stated that Turkey will support the process only when conditions are favourable and when the solution’s framework is properly agreed on. Also, Kalin said, any future negotiation cannot be opended, it needs to be phased and have specific parameters. Furthermore, the basis should be creating a structure where both communities have equal rights and Turkish Cypriots can assert their political and economic rights.

Kalin also stated that while the Cyprus Problem remains unsolved, the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean will remain a problem. Politis points out that this statement is related to the letter sent by Turkey to the UNSG in which the country outlines its claims regarding territorial waters and exploration rights. In a related event, Phileleftheros and Politis among others report on the answer by the Greek Foreign Ministry to the Turkish letter, that her claims are legally unfounded.

Phileleftheros and Alithia report on statements made by Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci upn his return to Cyprus on Tuesday night. Akinci stated that he had no coordination with Ankara before he headed to Berlin. He added however that both Turkey and the international community know his positions and have followed his actions in the past two years. He said that the Berlin meeting was a positive step and that the next steps won’t realistically come before the spring.

Politis reports that Greece expressed its support to the process through a statement by the country’s foreign ministry. In the statement by the Greek FM’s spokesperson Alexandros Gennimatas it is noted that the trilateral meeting in Berlin underlined the need for a swift solution and called on the UNSG to continue with his efforts.

A representative of the UK’s High Commission in Cyprus has told the Cyprus News Agency that the country will continue to support efforts for a bizonal bicommunal federation with political equality. Also the State Department has pointed out in an announcement that a solution based on the BBF would be beneficial to both the whole of the island as well as the region. The Russian embassy in Cyprus reaffirmed its readiness to assist international efforts to solve the Cyprus Problem and expresses satisfaction on the fact that there was an initial agreement on the positions of the sides regarding the parameters of future arrangements. A spokesperson for the European Commission assessed the meeting as an important development and added that it has always supported a solution based on Security Council resolutions and the EU’s founding principles.

The daily press also reports that Anastasiades will be informing the National Council regarding what was discussed during a session of the advisory body on December 4th. Politis also reports that the Foreign Ministry’s general secretary recently visited Athens, where he informed foreign ambassadors based in Greece but operating also in Cyprus of the government’s position on Turkey’s drilling. The FM official also informed the ambassadors about Cyprus’s offer to Turkey to agree on EEZ delineation.

The newspapers also report on the results of a poll by CYRPC-Cypronetwork which show citizens to have been torn on the prospects of the Cyprus Problem, but largely approving of the government’s handling of the process leading up to the Berlin meeting. In the poll, which was conducted right before the trilateral meeting, 6% were optimistic for a positive outcome from the Berlin meeting, 16% were somewhat optimistic, 29% were a little optimistic and 49% were not optimistic. Asked whether they approved of the government’s handling, 5% assessed its performace as very good, 18% as rather good, 30% as somewhat good, 23% as a little good and 24% as not good at all.

Haravgi and Phileleftheros also reports on statements made by T/C ”FM” Kudret Ozersay that the result of the Berlin meeting simply repeats what was said before and that there is an attempt to bring back to life a dead process. There needs to be a funeral that no one wants to organise, he added in a post on Facebook.

Kalin (Erdogan spokesperson)
>> As long as there is a Cyprus Problem, the Eastern Mediterranean will be a problem
>> Turkey will support the process when conditions are favourable and the parameters of the solution are properly set
>> Any future process needs to be based on a specific, phased road map

>> I did not meet or confer with Turkish officials before Berlin

Gennimatas (Greek FM spokesperson) >> Trilateral meeting in Berlin underlines the need for a swift solution

UK High Commission in Nicosia
>> The UK will continue to support a solution based on a bizonal bicommunal federation with politcal equality

US State Department
>> A solution based on a bizonal bicommunal federation will be beneficial to the island and the entire region.

Russian FM spokesperson
>> Expresses satisfaction that there has been an initial agreement in the positions of the two sides regarding the parameters of a future arrangement.

EU spokesperson
>> The EU has always supported a solution based on UN parameters and the EU’s founding principles.

>> The Berlin statement repeats previous statements. The process is dead and no one wants to do the funeral.

Turkish Cypriot pensioner contests exclusion from Gesy at the Supreme Court

Alithia, Cyprus Mail, Haravgi, Phileleftheros
Human Rights


Cyprus Mail reports that according to Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris, a Turkish Cypriot pensioner will be suing the Republic of Cyprus over his exclusion from the national health system (Gesy). The pensioner, Asim Ebeoglu, is paying contributions out of his state pension provided by the Republic of Cyprus, but is unable to register for Gesy as he has no address in the government controlled areas.

Ebeoglu lives in the north but has worked in the south, and before the implementation of Gesy he could visit state doctors and pharmacies, Cyprus Mail notes. His friend Tanyol Ceribasi who used to work in the British Bases has also attempted to register online but was not able to since he also does not have an address in the government controlled areas. Ceribasi is quoted as saying that what the two want is to either stop being charged or to be able to access Gesy and its services.

According to a government source cited by Alithia, the government has understood that there is a problem and is looking for solutions. Specifically, the Ministries for Health and the Interior are in coordination looking for the way to ensure that T/Cs pensioners are also covered.

According to the Cyprus Mail the two pensioners had been told by doctors that the problem would be fixed by September, while the social insurance department has told them that the deductions from their pension will continue to be made but that they can’t be included in the scheme. The two have reportedly also sent a letter to the Ombudswoman but have yet to receive a response.

Health Insurance Organisations officials have told media earlier this month that the board rejected the two pensioners’ request, adding that there can be exemptions for Turkish Cypriots currently working in the south or G/C enclaved living in the north.

The case will be presented to the Supreme Court on December 3rd. Kibris has noted that the case is a test for thousands of other Turkish Cypriots that contribute to social insurance in the Republic of Cyprus but cannot claim access to Gesy.

Commission plans contacts with Turkey on migration

EU Matters


The Commission is chipping away on the political sanctions against Turkey agreed by the Council of the EU on July 15th, regarding the country’s illegal drillings in the Cypriot EEZ, Phileleftheros reports. According to the newspaper, new Commission President Ursula von der Leyen wishes to rekindle relations with Turkey, mainly due to the need for new arrangements on migration. This approach is favoured by the Greek government, according to the newspaper.

The newspapser cites information that Von der Leyen considers sending Commission VP Margaritis Schinas to Ankara, but that there have been no final decisions on the matter. These contacts would be taking place on December 6th.

Phileleftheros points out that according to sources in the Commission, such contacts do not contravene the decisions taken by the Council as they are part of the still active Joint Statement by Turkey and the EU on migration. As such, they are not a part of the series of high political dialogues that have been suspended due to Turkey’s actions in the Eastern Meditarranean.

The Phileleftheros correspondent writes that the term “high political dialogue” refers to the level of those involved, and that meetings such as the one between Turkish FM Mevlut Cavusoglu and European Parliament president David Sassoli “was not accident” since meetings of high level officials “essentially puts an end to political sanctions”. He adds that recent contacts in the context of the European Economic and Social Committee are not problematic.

Commission to MEP Kizilyurek: Only the Council can make Turkish official language

EU Matters, CBMs


Outgoing European Commission president Jean Claude Juncker has replied to a parliamentary question by AKEL MEP Niyazi Kizilyurek on the issue of introducing Turkish into the EU’s official languages, Haravgi reports.

According to the report, the Commission clarifies that the European Council is the only EU body that can decide on the languages recognised as officials by the EU institutions.

The outgoing Commission president was replying to a question posed by Kizilyurek, in which he points out that Turkish Cypriot citizens of the EU are expecting their mother tongue to become one of Europe’s official languages. Kizilyurek’s question also made reference to President Anastasiades’ request to the same effect to the EU institutions in 2015.

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