GCC Press Review 20 Dec 2019

Front Page Headlines


Arrest warrants for Turks and blockage for Russians

Seven TPAO (Turkish petroleum company) executives are on the list of sanctions. The names have been submitted by the Republic of Cyprus to the EU. Reservations on names on the list for sanctions against Russia.


They had placed an eye at the airport

Police have information for possible surveillance of everyone coming and going from Cyprus. Arrests of three GCs and warrants for three Israelis for the spy van case.

  • Coordination with everyone over Turkish provocations
  • Ankara is flirting with a heated incident – She is upgrading provocations.


Military anthems everywhere …

The ‘military anthems’ and cymbals are being heard everywhere these days from the government which is backed by the media but yesterday the government spokesman saw only the “militarization” of the occupied areas. Cyprus’ militarisation creates more obstacles for the solution, points out the Cyprus Peace Council.

  • POGO honoured two Cypriots fighting for reunification – Award to Sevgul Uludag and Christina Patsia. 

Cyprus Mail

‘Shock’ over GESY abuse by doctors

One private cardiologist ‘demanded €407,000 for five months’.


The bomb has exploded

Developments in the spy van case. Handcuffs to three GC employees of WiSpear company to which the spy van belongs. WiSpear’s owner, Israeli Tal Dilian, who was declaring he was not involved in any illegal activity in Cyprus, remains disappeared from the country.

Main News

Nicosia says will address Turkish provocations through the diplomatic route

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


Nicosia will continue using all diplomatic means in its disposal, to respond to Turkey’s continuous efforts to militarise the north which is not in line with the efforts of the UN Secretary-General for the resumption of talks, Deputy Government Spokesman Panayiotis Sentonas said on Thursday, the dailies report.

Alithia and Phileleftheros report that Sentonas, responding to a question about Turkish actions and statements regarding the occupied areas, said that this effort aims to lead to further instability and insecurity in the region. He added that these actions were also an obstacle to the efforts already undertaken by the UN Secretary-General after the meeting in Berlin on the possibility of convening an informal five-party conference that would lead to the conclusion of the terms of reference and pave the way for negotiations.

He also said that Nicosia opts to continue on the responsible path of diplomacy, adding that there is no intention on the part of the government to further poison the climate.

Cyprus Mail reports that in a 71-23 vote the US Senate on Thursday passed the ‘Eastern Mediterranean Security and Energy Partnership’ bill applying to Cyprus and Greece. Among others it mandates the compilation of a report scrutinising Turkey’s violations of Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) but also one detailing Russia’s influence in Cyprus. The Senate is now set to approve the budget on national defence, which includes provisions for the lifting of the decades-old arms embargo on Cyprus, the paper reports.

Politis and Phileleftheros report that TC leader Mustafa Akinci said the lifting of the arms embargo on Cyprus was a negative development especially now, given the wider climate in the region.

Akinci said the steps taken in the south of the island cause similar moves in the north as well. He also said that tensions started from the unilateral efforts for the exploitation of natural resources around the island and escalated through the agreements signed with countries in the region.

He reiterated that his July 13 proposal on the joint management of natural gas was still on the table.

Akinci also said that the solution to the Cyprus problem is necessary not only for Cyprus but the whole region, the papers report.

Phileleftheros reports that Akinci appeared willing to justify Turkey’s actions by putting the blame on the GCs.

In the meantime, Haravgi, in its main item, reports on the statement by the Cyprus Peace Council which warns that the installation of new weapon systems by Turkey and the Cypriot government looms enormous risks for the island.

The group also said that the government, instead of focusing on the solution of the Cyprus problem seeks further militarisation of the island.

It also condemned the conversion by Turkey of the occupied areas into a war and espionage base for the Eastern Mediterranean.

Turkey’s new moves serve her expansionist plans for Cyprus and the wider region of the Eastern Mediterranean the CPC said. Coupled with the ongoing militarization of Cyprus, these actions create more obstacles in the course of the negotiations and make the goal for a solution seem more distant, the group said, warning that this would have unpredictable consequences for all Cypriots.

The group also criticises the Anastasiades government, which instead of focusing on solving the Cyprus problem, chooses to further militarise the island by siding with NATO, participating in PESCO and signing military agreements with Israel, US and France, they said.

In another article, Phileleftheros reports that Turkey wants to turn the Eastern Mediterranean into an erupting volcano through actions against Cyprus and Greece. After dispatching drones in the occupied areas, she is now organizing military exercises in areas of the Aegean Sea and the Cypriot EEZ, the paper reported.

Sentonas (Deputy gov. spokesman)
Turkey’s actions aim to further destabilise the region & do not help the efforts by the UNSG on the possibility of an informal five-party conference for the conclusion of the ToR and the start of the talks. Nicosia will continue on the responsible path of diplomacy.

Believes the lifting of the US arms embargo on Cyprus is a negative development given the wider climate in the region.
>> Actions in the south lead to reactions in the north since tensions started from the unilateral efforts for hydrocarbons exploitation around the island which escalated through the agreements signed with countries in the region.
>> His proposal on the joint management of natural gas is still on the table.
>> The Cyprob solution is now necessary not only for Cyprus but the whole region.

TPAO executives on Cyprus’ list for sanctions against Turkey by EU

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


Nicosia has submitted to the EU a list with seven names, all TPAO executives, to be included in the list of those subject to sanctions in connection with Turkey’s activities in the Cypriot exclusive economic zone, the papers report.

The list was submitted a week ago. Cyprus however, is the only EU country that temporarily ‘blocked’ the list of names for sanctions against Russia.

Citing sources, Politis reports that on the list are, among others, TPAO’s CEO and chairman of the board Melih Han Bilgin, vice-chairman of the company Edip Muyesseroglu and board members Alparslan Bayraktar and Mehmet Ferruh Akalin.

No political persons have been put on the list since the aim is to convey the message that the problem is focused on the company leading illegal drilling and research in the Cypriot EEZ, the daily reports.

Discussion on the list by the competent working group of the Foreign Affairs Committee is expected to start in January.

If the list of names is approved these seven persons will be banned entry to EU countries and any assets in EU countries will be frozen.

According to Politis, the foreign ministry, however, does not confirm so far the inclusion of these names on the list because it does not want for talks at EU level to be affected.

Citing Politico, the dailies also reports that Cyprus, however, expressed reservations on the list of names concerning sanctions to Russia for Crimea.  While Cyprus did not object to the list at the initial stage, it has now expressed its reservations and wants to run a background check on these names before deciding.

 Sources told Politis that Cyprus raised no objections because the person in charge of the case on behalf of Nicosia did not attend the previous procedure because they were on sick leave. The same sources have reassurances that there were no expediencies behind this.

Politico cites two European sources expressing surprise by Cyprus’ stance given the support it has received from its partners on the issue of Turkey with some sources expressing suspicion that perhaps this is due to that the EU is not moving as fast as Nicosia would have wanted on the sanctions against Turkey issue, Politis reports.

Cyprus coordinates with partners in region against Turkish actions

Regional/International Relations


According to the daily, Cyprus, Israel, Egypt and Jordan are looking for a way to tackle the Turkish provocations in the region with the four countries being in constant contact and consultations at all levels.

President Nicos Anastasiades on Thursday had a telephone conversation with his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah el-Sisi with whom he discussed the recent Turkey-Libya memorandum of understanding on maritime boundaries.

Government spokesman Kyriakos Koushios said the Egyptian President denounced the accord saying that it does not produce any legal effect and agreed with Anastasiades that all appropriate measures should be taken in order to stop the implementation of the clauses of an illegal agreement.

Sisi also told Anastasiades that a possible military presence of Turkey in Libya would lead to destabilisation of the region.

The two presidents also agreed that the foreign ministers of Cyprus, Egypt and Greece ought to coordinate the actions that must be implemented to avert Turkish plans.

The daily also reports that Greece’s Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias discussed the same issue with his Jordanian counterpart Ayman Safadi. The Greek minister announced after the meeting that a trilateral summit would take place in Athens during the first three months of 2020 between Greece, Jordan and Cyprus.

It was also announced that a team of experts from Greece will travel to Rome on December 30 to discuss the update of the 1977 Greek-Italian agreement on the delimitation of the continental shelf at the Ionian Sea and add the demarcation of the EEZ and other maritime areas, the paper reports.

The daily also cites in Yeni Safak that reports that professor Suha Cumbukcuoglu argues that Turkey ought to pursue a quadrilateral partnership with Syria, Lebanon and the pseudo-state to avert Lebanon joining the group of countries siding with the Republic of Cyprus. He also suggested that Turkey ought to pressure the Assad regime to start commercial cooperation with occupied Cyprus with Moscow’s support.

He also said that Turkey cannot sign a delimitation agreement with Lebanon because, geographically, that country is southeast of Cyprus, Phileleftheros reports.

TC & GC receive award for women’s contribution

Human Rights


The daily reports that Sevgul Uludag and Christina Solomi Patsia were awarded this year’s award for women’s contribution from Women’s Movement POGO.

The ‘Katina Nicolaou-Clio Christodoulides award’ has been established by POGO.

Uludag and Patsia were chosen by POGO this year as the award winners for their struggle for shedding light to the fate of missing persons. The two women, according to POGO, have become a symbol in efforts for rapprochement and peaceful coexistence on the island.

POGO head Skevi Koukouma said that TC journalist Uludag’s life goal is to find as many missing persons as possible and reveal their tragic stories and help their relatives understand the loss and pain in both communities.

As regards Patsia, Koukouma said she has experienced with her whole being the pain caused by the invasion and occupation since her father and brother were among the missing persons. They were both found and given funerals 43 years later.

In her address, Gender Equality Commissioner, Iosfina Antoniou said that the two women are two fighters for the reconciliation and reunification of the island.

Remains of missing person found in Trachonas

Alithia, Haravgi, Phileleftheros
CBMs, Human Rights


The dailies report that bicommunal teams searching for missing persons have recovered the remains of one individual in a military area in Trachonas.

The Committee on Missing Persons said the remains were found on Wednesday and that the excavation continues.

The Committee said so far this year it has recovered the remains of 28 individuals.

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