GCC Press Review 13 Feb 2020

Front Page Headlines

Politis

They did not hesitate to testify against (Ayia Napa FC chairman) Demetris Mashias

Testimonies concerning requests to football players to throw matches. He is believed to have made promises to a footballer in order for him to throw a match in favour of Ayia Napa.
Constantinou (the referee also arrested on suspicion of match-fixing) had given the impression since the 70th minute of the match he was doing everything for Othellos FC to lose.

  • Varosha: The municipality turns to the Security Council
  • Presidential Palace-AKEL: Spat with ‘guarantees’

Phileleftheros

Black hole as regards pharmaceuticals

Suppliers have been unpaid for months. They warn over great shortages. Invoices for tens of thousands of euros at OKYPY (State Health Services Organisation) that, according to the accusations, does not even answer their phone calls.

  • Ankara-Ozersay-Tatar: They are staging a show again on Varosha
  • Targeted effort to deconstruct Akinci – They are waiting for the poll results.
  • Warships from France, US and Belgium in Larnaca – French aircraft carrier in Limassol.
  • (Cyprus’) migration burden is disproportionate

Haravgi

A lesson in ethics to Prodromou by Livaniou

Commissioner for Children’s Rights Despo Michaelidou-Livaniou has exposed the education minister over the rights of pupils to express their opinion through a vote or otherwise and the stance of two lyceum headmasters that forbade them to do so.

  • They must stop the retractions and contradictions and re-read Guterres’ report

Cyprus Mail

EU raises risks of money laundering

Cyprus report focuses on real estate, lawyers, accountants and casino.

Alithia

“He offered me €10,000 to throw the match in favour of Ayia Napa”

Revelations in court over match-fixing. Referee Andreas Constantinou and former referee and chairman of Ayia Napa FC Demetris Mashias have been remanded for eight days. The disclosure of the two suspects’ phone data is expected to lead to new arrests. Appeal by the justice minister: Submit evidence. Loucas Fanieros: The goings-on in football is a common secret. Now there is money in the way and where there is money there is corruption.

  • Erdogan is hurling threats again over Syria

Main News

Government feels vindicated after Ankara denies it was willing to forgo its guarantor status in 2017

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

OVERVIEW

The government on Wednesday said that Turkey’s denial that Ankara had accepted the removal of guarantees in the Crans-Montana talks shatters the narrative of some that Turkey was ready to give up its intervention and being guarantor, the dailies report.

Though DIKO backed the government, while AKEL said it does not matter what Turkey says but what the government does.

According to the dailies, Government Spokesman Kyriacos Kousios, in response to an announcement by the Turkish foreign ministry that reports in the GC media that Ankara was ready to give up its intervention and guarantor rights in Crans-Montana were false, said that this shatters the narrative of some claiming the opposite.

He said this was a clear admission that Ankara never consented to such a move. Kousios also referred to an interview in Sunday’s Politis with former UN Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman who was in Crans-Montana and who said even if there were some issues that remained unresolved, the impression of UN officials was that Crans-Montana brought both sides and the guarantors to the limits of a solution. Kousios said the UN Secretary-General had echoed this in subsequent reports on the failed talks. Turkey, he said, should have no role, or reason, to be in Cyprus in a post-solution era. “It is, therefore, time for Cyprus to realise that together we must face Turkish intransigence and stop the confrontations between us,” Kousios said according to the dailies.

Cyprus Mail reports that it is believed the Turkish foreign ministry was commenting on an opinion article published in Politis and the Sunday Mail, which stated Turkey showed a willingness to budge on the guarantees issue at the Crans-Montana talks in 2017. “When it became apparent in Crans-Montana that Turkey would budge on the issue of guarantees, Anastasiades, instead of putting forward his demands, met secretly with Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglou and proposed a two-state solution so he could rule the south for another five years,” the article said, the daily reports.

DISY’s deputy chairman Harris Georgiades said that Ankara’s statements shot down claims within the GC side that the solution was on the table and Turkey was ready for it but that Anastasiades turned it down.

The dailies also report that DIKO too said in a written statement that the Turkish foreign ministry dissolved the illusions of some and shoots down the so-called argument that the talks in Crans-Montana collapsed due to the lack of courage by the GC side.

AKEL, on the other hand, reacted to what it called as celebrations by the Presidential Palace over Ankara’s announcement and Feltman’s statements pointing out that they do not vindicate the government’s narrative and policy on the Cyprus problem.

The party said that it is not important what Turkey says after the event was done pointing out that the UNSG had said in his report of December 17, 2017, that all three guarantor powers, meaning also Turkey, had shown a constructive stance to find mutually acceptable solutions on the issue of security. It wanted to know why the government did not object to that reference if it felt the UNSG was distorting the facts. AKEL also said Feltman merely repeats what the UNSG’s report had said.

The party also asked the government to say why it rejects the non-paper on the solution implementation mechanism which clearly was abolishing the guarantee and intervention rights since it was giving the guarantor powers only an advisory role.

AKEL also said that if the government truly means it wants the effort to continue from where it left off in Crans-Montana, then it must stop demonising political equality and return to the convergence on effective participation that includes a positive vote by the TCs at cabinet level.

When this happens, Turkey will not be able to use political equality as an alibi for the continuation of the guarantees, AKEL said, according to the dailies.

KEY ACTORS
Kousios (RoC)
>>
Ankara’s denial it had accepted the removal of the guarantee system in Crans-Montana & Feltman’s statements that all sides had come close to a solution prove wrong those accusing the GC side of being responsible for the collapse of the talks in 2017.
>> Turkey should have no role in Cyprus after the solution.
>> Calls for unity against Turkish intransigence.

Georgiades (DISY)
>>
Ankara’s statements shoot down claims within the GC side that the solution was on the table & Turkey was ready for it but that Anastasiades turned it down.

DIKO
>>
Ankara dissolved the illusions of some & shot down the so-called argument that the talks collapsed due to the lack of courage by the GC side.

AKEL
>>
Ankara’s & Feltman’s statements do not vindicate the government’s narrative and policy on the Cyprob as one should not pay attention to what Turkey says but to the UNSG’s reference in his December 2017 report that all three guarantor powers had shown a constructive stance for mutually accepted solutions on the issue of security.
>> If the government truly means it wants the effort to continue from where it left off in Crans-Montana and dismiss Turkey’s alibi for the continuation of the guarantees, it must stop demonising political equality & return to the convergence on effective participation that includes one TC positive vote at cabinet level.
>> Wants the government to explain why it rejects the non-paper on the solution implementation mechanism which gives the guarantor powers only an advisory role thus abolishes their guarantee and intervention rights.


Parties condemn announcement on discussion on Varosha’s future

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

OVERVIEW

The dailies report that a round table discussion is taking place in Varosha on Saturday on the opening of the closed-off town.

Some dailies see this as an election ploy by Ankara to give a boost to the candidates it favours as the next TC leader.

The papers, citing TC and Turkish media, report that decisions are expected to be announced on Varosha after a round-table discussion planned for Saturday at the fenced-off area of Famagusta in the presence of Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay, and Turkey’s Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul. TC ‘prime minister’ Ersin Tatar and ‘foreign minister’ Kudret Ozersay are also participating but not TC leader Mustafa Akinci, some papers report.

Politis reports that this announcement is yet another form of interference by Turkey in the ‘elections’ in the occupied areas since they now also put on the table the card of the closed-off town.

Citing sources, the daily also reports that Famagusta municipality was to send a letter to the five permanent members of the UN Security Council on the matter on Thursday but also UN Special Representative Elizabeth Spehar expressing their discontent over the TC and Turkish sides’ latest move but also condemning the plans they promote as regards Varosha. The daily also reports that the municipality is in close contact with the Presidential Palace and the foreign ministry on the matter.

Phileleftheros too reports that this is another political game orchestrated by the occupation regime and Turkey in a bid to back the candidates Ankara wants ahead of the ‘elections’ also reporting that Akinci was excluded.

The papers also report that political parties have reacted to the reported news.

Ruling DISY condemned what it called as Turkey’s latest provocative action. The party said this move, which is in violation of Security Council resolutions on Varosha, proves in action Turkey’s expansionist appetite and that any decisions taken will be completely illegal.

EDEK called on the Republic of Cyprus to take political and diplomatic measures against this initiative on Varosha. The party recalled that it had warned something like that would happen and had submitted proposals to avert Turkey’s plans on Varosha.

The Greens too condemned the announcement about the round table discussion as yet another provocative act by the TC and Turkish sides that use as a pretext the need to find a solution that would allegedly safeguard the legal owners’ property rights.

The party called on the government to react against Turkey’s plans on the issue of Famagusta.

All papers also report that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said TC leader Mustafa Akinci’s statements to The Guardian were very unfortunate and an insult to the struggle of the previous TC leaders, Rauf Denktash and Fazil Kucuk.

Phileleftheros reports that since last Sunday there is an unprecedented effort by Turkey to deconstruct Akinci that would lead to his removal from the leadership of the TCs. This polemic, however, has not damaged Akinci so far but it will all depend on the polls to be carried out in the occupied areas. The intensity of Turkey’s attacks on Akinci will depend on the result of these polls, the daily reported.

KEY ACTORS
DISY
>>
Condemns Turkey’s latest provocative action which violates the SC resolutions on Varosha & proves its expansionist appetite.
>> Any decisions taken at the round-table discussion will be completely illegal.

EDEK
>>
Calls on the RoC to take political and diplomatic measures against this move saying it had warned something like that would happen hence the proposals they had submitted in the past to avert Turkey’s plans on Varosha.

Greens
>>
Find the latest move as yet another provocative act by the TCs & Turkey that use as pretext the need to find a solution that would allegedly safeguard the legal owners’ property rights.
>> Call on the government to react against Turkey’s plans on the issue of Famagusta.


Cyprus in need of more assistance from the bloc to tackle migration flows, EU official says

Phileleftheros
Migration & Citizenship, Human Rights

OVERVIEW

The daily reports that the President of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), Luca Jahier, who is on the island on an official visit as part of his ‘Peace and Borders in Europe’ tour, said that Cyprus carries a disproportional burden as regards migrant flows.

In an interview with Phileleftheros, Jahier said that Cyprus cannot and must not deal with the issue of migration alone, while as regards the Cyprus problem, he said that Brussels need to do what it takes to deescalate the tension.  

Jahier told the paper that Cyprus needs support from other EU members as regards the migration issue while the Green Line was a source of concern as regards this issue.

He also said, according to the paper, that the increasing arrival of irregular migrants in Cyprus raises serious concerns while assistance from the EU to tackle this issue was urgently needed. He added that even more worrying is the increasing flow of irregular migrants travelling from other countries to Turkey benefiting from a visa-free regime and from there to the north of Cyprus ending up crossing to the government-controlled areas through the Green Line seeking asylum.

Jahier, according to the paper said that the EU has provided a €100m aid since the migration crisis started while the Cypriot government has taken steps to effectively manage the situation, including strengthening the asylum service and expanding host facilities but that, as a ‘front-line’ country whose situation deteriorates due to its proximity to politically and socially unstable countries, is carrying a disproportionate burden and needs assistance from the bloc.

As regards the Cyprus problem, Jahier said that Berlin trilateral was an encouraging meeting and a step in the right direction. He added that Brussels need to do what’s necessary for the de-escalation of tensions and make clear that the reunification of the island within the EU would change things for the country and the region.

While in Cyprus, Jahier will meet with representatives of trade unions from both communities.

He told the daily that there is room for improvement as regards the economic development aimed at bridging the gap between the two communities, arguing that there are great economic disparities between the areas north and south of the Green Line. He recalled that the EU is assisting the TC community with an amount of around €35m which is channelled through civil society projects.


NG evolution plans on track

Haravgi, Phileleftheros, Politis
Internal Security

OVERVIEW

According to the dailies, Chief of the National Guard Lieutenant General Ilias Leontaris said that 2020 is the year of ‘self-knowledge and extroversion’ for the force which continues to evolve.

Leontaris said during a recent event where the commanders of NG units presented their work for 2019, that work for the evolution of the force continues judging by what has been achieved last year and the goals set for 2020.

He called for collective effort to make the National Guard a pillar of national strength and a powerful factor of deterrence.

Leontaris also referred to the upgrade of the armed forces’ battle ability and called on the staff to continue to work with the same zeal and determination, the papers reported.


Remains of Greek officer missing since 1974 to be delivered to his family

Alithia, Cyprus Mail, Phileleftheros
CBMs, Human Rights

OVERVIEW

The dailies report that the remains of Greek officer Georgios Katsanis who was killed during the war in 1974 will be delivered to his two daughters on Thursday to be buried after 46 years.

His remains were discovered in 2017 by the Committee on Missing Persons (CMP) in a mass grave in the north. He was killed by a Turkish sniper on July 21, 1974, during a battle near St Hilarion castle in Kyrenia. The ceremony was to be attended by Presidential Commissioner Photis Photiou and Greek Deputy Defence Minister Alkiviadis Stefanis. Photiou said on Wednesday that the government and the people hand over the remains of a great hero who fought for Cyprus. After Thursday’s ceremony, Katsanis’ remains will be flown to Greece in a C-130 military aircraft. The funeral will be held on Saturday in Sidirokastro, in northern Greece.

According to Photiou, there are more cases of remains from 1974 belonging to Greeks, adding that 47 persons from Greece who went missing in 1974 have not been found yet, the papers reported.