GCC Press Review 03 Dec 2019

Front Page Headlines


Fourteen plus 3 powerful local governments

The mergers of 30 municipalities and 50 communities have been announced by the interior minister. (Interior Minister) Petrides’ proposal responds to the scenarios of the study. The minister favours a change to Strovolos’ boundaries.

  • Turkey-Libya: They are ‘eating up’ the Greek EEZ


Municipalities have been erased from the map

Parties and mayors react and arrange to meet in parliament where disagreements will escalate. Local administration with 17 municipalities instead of 30.

  • Sanctions against Turkey minus one
  • Limitless claims in the Mediterranean
  • TC was asking for the Ayios Mamas refugee estate in Lakatamia – Court rejected the lawsuit.
  • The deal on LNG has been sealed – Final touchups before the signatures with the Chinese and Greeks. They carry on with a floating storage and natural gas deliquification unit.


A new chapter with challenges over local government

The proposal submitted yesterday by the interior minister on Local Government Reform opens a new chapter on the modernisation of local government. The objective would be for the proposal to tackle the many challenges faced by the institution turning it into more human-centric, with political independence and economic autonomy. The proposal creates a new map on which debate is expected.

  • Pyla is an example for the Cyprus problem solution

Cyprus Mail

Huge changes to local authorities

Reform will provide more power, savings and efficiency, says minister.


And now, 17 municipalities (instead of 30) robust and financially viable

Reform – The local government map is radically changing. The residents of municipalities increase by 100,000. This leads to €50m in savings and ensures increased funds. Transition from state reliance to self-governance. Ensuring administrative and financial autonomy. Transfer of new responsibilities that will be the pillars of the local development. New control, transparency and accountability mechanisms.

Main News

Nicosia asks Libya for copy of EEZ agreement with Turkey

Alithia, Haravgi, Phileleftheros
Regional/International Relations


The dailies report that the Cypriot foreign ministry has requested from Libya a copy of the agreement it signed with Turkey on the delimitation of their exclusive economic zones (EEZs).

According to Haravgi and Phileleftheros Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides met yesterday with Libya’s representative to Cyprus to discuss the matter. The Libyan official submitted a request for the arrival to Cyprus of a delegation of diplomats to discuss the agreement the country signed with Turkey.

Phileleftheros, citing information, reports that Nicosia has not responded yet to the request as it wants to first have a look at the agreement before it accepts Libya’s request.

Christodoulides said that this action by Turkey shows that its revisionist policy is not solely turned against the Republic of Cyprus but also affects the interests and rights of all states in the region. He reiterated that this memorandum has no legal backing, adding that Turkey has extorted it from Libya in exchange with the military support it provides to the country in question, Phileleftheros reports.

Phileleftheros also reports that according to the governments of Cyprus and Greece the agreement contradicts the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. 

Christodoulides also discussed the matter with the Secretary-General of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) Nasser Kamel, who was in Cyprus on Monday on a working visit.

The daily also cites the newly appointed spokesman on foreign affairs of the European Commission, Peter Stano, called on Turkey on Monday to respect international law and good neighbourly relations.

Stano, answering to a question by the Cyprus News Agency on the memorandum of understanding Libya and Turkey signed during the briefing of the new term, said that the EU has repeatedly stressed to Turkey, that she has to respect the international law and also good neighbourly relations, with all the countries around it, and has to avoid any kind of threats or actions that would damage these relations and the peaceful settlement of disputes, whatever these disputes are.

“Whatever the disputes are, we need to focus on respect for international law and good neighbourly relations and solve all the issues which are tricky or disputable in dialogue and negotiations,” he said according to Phileleftheros.

Alithia and Phileleftheros also report that the deputy director general on aviation and shipping issues at the Turkish foreign ministry Cagatay Erciyes tweeted a map with what Turkey believes are the boundaries of her EEZ/continental shelf in the Eastern Mediterranean following her ‘agreement’ in  2011 with the occupied areas and that with Libya. It is not a coincidence that the Greek Island of Kastellorizo is missing from the map, Alithia reported.

 According to Phileleftheros, Turkey’s claims show through the maps that what she truly wants is to control the entire Mediterranean basin.

The agreement with Libya shows that Turkey’s revisionist policy is not solely turned against the RoC but also affects the interests and rights of all states in the region.
>> The Turkey-Libya memorandum has no legal backing.

Stano (European Commission)
Calls on Turkey to respect international law & avoid any kind of threats or actions that would damage good neighbourly relations and the peaceful settlement of disputes.
>> No matter what disputes Turkey has with her neighbours, they need to be solved through dialogue and negotiations.

AKEL: Pyla could become an example for Cyprob solution

Alithia, Haravgi, Phileleftheros
Human Rights


According to the dailies AKEL leader Andros Kyprianou said after a visit to Pyla that the peaceful co-existence of GCs and TCs at the mixed village could be a model for the solution to the Cyprus problem.

Kyprianou visited Pyla yesterday and met with the village’s GC leader Simos Mytides and TC leader Veysal Guden.

He said his message to the government and the two leaders, Nicos Anastasiades and Mustafa Akinci, is that Pyla must be supported with projects that would upgrade its residents’ quality of life so that the village can operate smoother as a co-existence model.

Kyprianou said his party attaches great importance to Pyla, which if properly assisted by the state, could become a model for the solution of the Cyprus problem.

The AKEL leader said he was briefed by the two leaders on the problems the village faces such as illegality encouraged by its special status. He said his party would bring these problems to the attention of the UN and the two leaders but also promote projects such as the construction of a village square, the coastal road and sidewalk and other works that need to be done.

He also said the two community councils cooperate between them but there are problems due to the village’s special status and problems they cannot tackle.

Mytides, who called for support to stamp out illegality, expressed hope the state would assume its responsibilities and at least promote projects such as the village square and the coastal road.

Guden too called for help from authorities to tackle the problems faced by the village after 30 years’ of indifference, the dailies report.

Kyprianou (AKEL)
If the state, two leaders and the UN support Pyla overcome problems it faces, the village could become a model of solution to the Cyprus problem as regards the peaceful co-existence of GCs & TCs.

EU continues to hold meetings with Turkish officials despite sanctions

EU Matters, Regional/International Relations


The daily reports that the EU seems to be gradually abolishing one of the political measures it had decided against Turkey over her illegal activities in the Cypriot EEZ, that of the suspension of all high-level political dialogue with the country.

According to the paper, the EU, with unilateral actions and without any consultations with Nicosia, seems to be lifting that measure given the recent meeting between European Parliament President David Sassoli with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in Brussels, and the forthcoming visit of the European Commission’s Vice-President Margaritis Schinas and Commissioner Ylva Johansson to Ankara. Citing sources, Phileleftheros reports that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has given the green light for the visit.

The paper also reports that consultations are underway for a meeting of the new EU High Representative, Josep Borrell with Cavusoglu on Thursday on the sidelines of a summit for members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in Bratislava.

A meeting is also on the cards between the leaders of Germany, UK, France and Turkey on the sidelines of the NATO summit in London. Though this meeting does not take place within the EU framework and the European leaders do not, at least formally, bend the political sanctions, it is obvious there is a tendency for getting closer to Turkey again under any hat and against any political sanctions, the daily said.

EU circles told Phileleftheros that they see nothing reprehensible in these meetings since the political sanctions against Turkey concerned high-level political dialogue and not high-level political meetings.

The daily argues however that it is not just the agenda of these contacts but mainly the status of participants that defines whether a meeting is high-level or not.

DISY leader holds contacts in UK on Cyprob

Regional/International Relations


The paper reports that DISY leader Averof Neophytou who was in London on a working visit met on Monday with Director-General for Political Affairs at the Foreign Office Richard Moore.

Neophytou said after the meeting he briefed the British official and conveyed the determination of President  Nicos Anastasiades and of the GC side for the restart of dialogue the soonest possible for the solution of Cyprus problem.

He also said he reiterated that for the GC side the only solution is a bizonal, bicommunal federal one with political equality as described in the UN resolutions.

He said they both assessed that it does not seem that the informal five-party meeting will take place before the elections in the north. Neophytou said Moore reiterated that the UK wants to assist in efforts for the solution and is willing to agree to what the other sides decide on the issue of guarantees.

Court rejects demand by TC for return of property in south

Property, Human Rights


The paper reports that a Nicosia court rejected a demand by a TC businessman for the return of his property in Lakatamia, on which now the Ayios Mamas refugee estate is built, across from the Jumbo store.

The man also demanded compensation to the tune of €1.6m.

According to the daily, the complainant is Salih Mehmet Salih, an in-law of the late Rauf Denktash. He owns a supermarket chain in the occupied areas with one of these shops built on GC land in Kyrenia.

The refugee estate consists of 66 residences, nine of which are built on land not belonging to Salih.

Salih’s lawyer argued that his client’s rights had been violated since he was forced to leave his property in 1974 while the state built immovable property in it in 1983 illegally, without his consent and without any compensation.

The state attorney countered that the complainant abandoned his property and as a result it came under the guardianship of the interior minister which was not against the Constitution or the European Convention on Human Rights as per Salih’s lawyer’s claims, since this move concerned restriction of rights for a restricted period of time to serve public interest. Any claims by the complainant including compensation could be addressed only after the end of the irregular situation, the state attorney said, according to the paper.

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