GCC Press Review 6 September 2020

Front Page Headlines

Sunday Mail

Army deferrals’ mixed response

Defence ministry does not expect huge uptake of boys headed to UK.

  • ‘Citizenships should be judged by laws in force at the time’
  • Comment: Lebanon: the making of a failed state
  • Coffeeshop: Foolish moves cause passport discord


France wants permanent presence of its “Rafale” in Paphos Base

Nicosia has expectations for mediation by Moscow to Ankara and is ready to host “De Gaulle”. Moscow’s naval force in our neighbourhood. France’s strategy in the Eastern Mediterranean. The ground gained by EastMed. Why Paris does not want to even speak of a pipeline to Turkey. Maritime routes safeguarded by “De Gaulle”. Friendly relations with Moscow and interests.

  • (Editorial) Only FORCE…
  • Interview: Zubeyir Aydar: Turkey must be met with resistance
  • Greek-Turkish relations: Is “dialogue” with Erdogan possible?
  • Armed forces: Who are the generals of the Aegean
  • Savvas Iacovides (opinion): Nightmarish prospects if Turkey suddenly takes over Kastelorizo
  • Loucas Fourlas (opinion): Erdogan turns towards Famagusta
  • Nikos G. Sykas (opinion): Extension of territorial waters in the Mediterranean Lake of the Black Swans
  • Giannakis L. Omirou (opinion): The American embargo on Turkey and Cyprus


Here is Nicos Anastasiades’s list

Classified: Who the Christofias government naturalised. In the letter the President of the Republic gave to the party leaders there are 141 cases where passports were issued during the presidency of Demetris Christofias during 2008 – 2012. Some are also clients of the President. As the President says, “25% are either defined as persons of high risk (PEP) or have been accused, detained, convicted, or were on the executive boards of companies hit with sanctions or administrative fine“. If, based on Al Jazeera’s investigation, the catalogue included also persons that retroactively became part of the categories of persons mentioned above, the percentage of applicants would be bigger than 36%. Best men and good people.

  • Occupied areas: The 11 of the “elections” and five dilemmas
  • Aegean: Erdogan will play the game to its end
  • Analysis: Dionisis Dionisiou: Greeks and Turks in a silly historical rematch
  • Analysis: Giorgos Dionisiou: France and Turkey’s war in the Eastern Mediterranean and Africa


Poker game before sanctions

Berlin, Washington, NATO move to avoid measures against Turkey. Erdogan insists on dialogue but also on continuing illegal research.

  • Exclusive interview tomorrow ahead of his arrival in Cyprus: Sergey Lavrov lays down his cards for “Ph”
  • Ioannis Mazis (interview): Dialogue that legalises illicit acts is impossible
  • Nicos Moudouros (interview): Raging Tayip and his goals
  • Manos Karagiannis (interview): The era of appeasement is over
  • Difficult path for the Cyprus Problem


Red alert over schools

The chronicle of a postponement of students’ return foretold and education’s future in a tense climate. Until the last moment the Ministry of Education gave assurances of readiness to return to classes.

  • Greece wants and needs battle-worthy Armed Forces
  • Naturalisations: They are looking for a sunset clause for the programme – Passports under Commission’s watchful eye. Central (Bank) begins investigation over naturalisations. Institutional arrhythmia by Auditor General.
  • Opening of Varosha in signatures stage: City’s status to be changed to residential
  • Diplomacy: The circumstances that brought the lifting of the embargo
  • Eleni Kounalakis (interview): We talked about Cyprus with Joe Biden


Cyprus sinks in corruption and they keep playing the same tune

  • Incursion in parliament… a constitutional aberration
  • Five new COVID-19 cases, three of them asymptomatic
  • Erdogan governance brought disappointment to young
  • (Andros Kyprianou interview) Including the Cyprus Problem in a “package” is a red line


The President’s response to everything

Regarding naturalisations. AKEL secretary general’s accusations debunked one by one. 25% of naturalisations during the Christofias government fell under high risk categories. Koushios: Andros, calm down, Anastasiades will not compete for the Presidency again.

  • Will give documents to the police over naturalisation itself: EDEK exposes its friends – AKEL: Anastasiades – DISY government increased handing over of passports twenty-fold during its days. DISY: A crescendo of nihilism by AKEL
  • Cases: Five new instances of COVID-19 yesterday Saturday
  • Western framework: Offered the best solution
  • Margaritis Schinas: Time for decisions on Turkey

Main News

Turkey to conduct military exercises off the coast of Cyprus

Alithia, Kathimerini, Phileleftheros, Politis, Simerini
Energy, External Security, Regional/ International Relations, EU Matters

Phileleftheros reports that Turkey will begin a military exercise on Sunday which will last until Thursday, off the coast of Cyprus. According to the newspaper, Turkey is responding in this way to diplomatic efforts by Greece and Cyprus to face Ankara’s provocations.

The newspaper reports that the announcement by the Turkish Defence Ministry came after the meeting of the Greek Foreign Minister with UNSG Guterres in New York.

Phileleftheros also reports, citing diplomatic sources, that Greek FM Nicos Dendias briefed Cypriot FM Nikos Christodoulides over the phone regarding the meeting and the prospects for a restart of negotiations. Christodoulides later talked with his Italian counterpart, Luigi di Maio regarding the next steps in the EU’s response to Turkey’s behaviour.

The newspaper also reports that President Anastasiades will be meeting with the heads of the political parties on Wednesday in order to discuss the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean as well as the passport scandal.

Meanwhile Simerini reports that France is requesting that its Rafale fighter planes have a permanent presence at the Paphos Air Base. According to information cited by the newspaper, an ongoing high-level discussion between France and Cyprus on the issue is progressing rapidly.

The newspaper points out that France’s strategy for the region is to push back against Turkey’s projection of power in order to safeguard maritime trade routes on which Europe depends, increase its presence in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East, support the construction of the EastMed pipeline and increase its role in the European Union.

Simerini also reports that the government is expecting an intervention from Russia towards Turkey, which is expected to be one of the issues that will be brought to the attention of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov during his official visit to Cyprus on Tuesday.

Alithia also reports on statements by European Commission Vice President Margaritis Schinas regarding the EU’s relations with Turkey. Schinas said on Friday night during a conference of Greece’s association of business and industry that the time has come for Turkey to decide on its future relations with the EU.

Schinas pointed out that this is the last chance for Turkey to return to de-escalation and dialogue. He pointed out that Turkey is an important partner for Greece and the EU but that this relationship is not a given.

Government fights with opposition over record on naturalisations

Alithia, Haravgi, Cyprus Mail, Kathimerini, Phileleftheros, Politis
Migration & Citizenship, Internal Security, Regional/ International Relations, EU Matters

Cyprus Mail reports that government spokesperson Kyriakos Koushios said on Saturday that each naturalisation should be judged based on the legal framework in place when it was granted.

Koushios was responding to statements by AKEL leader Andros Kyprianou that some problematic cases of naturalisations during the Christofias administration were arranged by Anastasiades’s former law firm. Koushios said that there was no regulation at the time prohibiting the handing over of said citizenships.

Kyprianou had pointed out on Saturday, referring to the list of names released by the government regarding naturalisations given during 2008 – 2012, that the two previous administrations had issued less than 200 passports while the current government has granted more than 4,000.

The opposition leader also accused the government of relaxing the criteria and giving citizenship to people that had never set foot on the island.

Politis publishes the full list that had been given by the government to the political parties, including details on the accusations against all successful applicants during the Christofias administration. The newspaper also points out that several of these applicants were actually clients of the President’s former law office.

Kathimerini reports that the government is looking for a way to gradually phase out the investment programme, and cites information that the Presidency and governing DISY disagree over how the issue should be handled. According to the same information, one possibility supported by the President is for the investment programme to be frozen, while the Economy and Foreign Affairs Ministers, Constantinos Petrides and Nicos Christodoulides, as well as top DISY official Charis Georgiades, even argued for ending the programme.

Haravgi cites statements by legal experts that have served in the House of Representatives regarding the police investigation into the provenance of the leaks to Al Jazeera. Former president of the House Giannakis Omirou said that it is a painful surprise to see the police attempt to conduct an investigation inside the parliament without the permission of the president of the body, and pointed out that according to the constitution the executive cannot move in this way against the legislative branch of government.

Former AKEL MP Aristophanis Georgiou said that the creation of a new committee to examine which citizenships should be revoked raises questions since the Cabinet of Ministers has already created a committee for this purpose under Demetra Kalogirou. Former MP Michalis Papapetrou pointed to political aims served through the police investigation, especially since the president of the parliament was informed only a few hours in advance. Former DISY MP Christos Pourgourides said that the investigation over the leak is an effort by the government to change the agenda, using the police as a tool.