GCC Press Review 14 September 2020

Front Page Headlines

Politis

Quarantine? If only we had another one

Big poll by RetailZoom for Politis. Most Cypriots are nostalgic for the quiet of the confinement, the lack of traffic in the streets and the savings made during the lockdown. The return to “normality” brought an increase in expenses, but the majority state their financial situation did not worsen compared to April. Impressive rejection of the way in which the Ministry of Education handled the reopening of schools. Up to 80% have a negative opinion.

  • If you want a role, you have obligations, was the message of Mike Pompeo

Phileleftheros

Mooring brought a new puzzle

Withdrawal of Oruc Reis did not solve problems in the Eastern Mediterranean. Michel’s visit in the region will be key.

  • Support from the US with prospects to continue
  • Famagusta a catalyst for a solution of the Cyprus Problem

Haravgi

A different first school bell

Readiness of schools remains a gamble. Mask obligatory for teachers and students in secondary education. Teachers insist that protocols are impractical.

  • (AKEL) Pompeo statements did not add something
  • While international condemnation increased, so did “golden” passports
  • Foreign Minister says government pleased with American approach
  • Greece only open to dialogue with Turkey over maritime zones
  • Low coronavirus cases in Cyprus

Alithia

Good morning school with mask

Schools open today for 107,557 students. Protection of children in the foreground, just as is the agony of parents and teachers. We talk to our children about coronavirus so they know to be careful and keep to hygiene rules. Prodromou wishes a happy and safe new school year to children, teachers and parents.

  • What government and parties say the day after Pompeo’s visit: No word from Turkey – What the government says about references to Russian ships and money laundering
  • Mitsotakis: Ready to meet Erdogan if there is de-escalation
  • Coronavirus cases: We stayed at three
  • Isaac – Solomou murders: Why the 11 arrest warrants have still not been executed?
  • Turkey: Is Erdogan leading the Turkish economy to the rocks?
  • Agreement with US: What is the Cyclops that the Americans want to build in Larnaca?

Main News

Oruc Reis returns to Antalya, Greece-Cyprus see step in right direction

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

OVERVIEW

Turkey did not renew its NAVTEX regarding work conducted by seismic research vessel Oruc Reis, and the vessel has returned to its port in Antalya on Sunday, the dailies report.

Phileleftheros reports that Turkey’s decision further complicates the situation despite the fact that, as both Greece and Cyprus have said, it is a step in the right direction. The newspaper reports citing sources that both countries are waiting to see whether Turkey made a tactical move or whether it will proceed with further de-escalation.

The newspaper cites a report by pro-government Yeni Safak according to which Oruc Reis is taking a break due to the process that has begun to lead Greece and Turkey to the negotiating table under the auspices of NATO.

The Cypriot government is also expected to insist that in its case Turkey is still continuing illegal activities in its EEZ and that the EU has already taken a political decision to proceed with targeted measures over Cyprus such as the addition of more persons onto a list of persons and companies to be sanctioned.

In a statement, Foreign Minister Nicos Christodoulides said that the departure of Oruc Reis is a move in the right direction, but noted that Turkey continues its illegal actions in the Cypriot EEZ.

The dailies also expand on the agreement for the creation of the Cyprus Centre for Land, Open-seas, and Port Security (CYCLOPS) which was signed by Pompeo and Christodoulides on Saturday. According to a State Department representative, CYCLOPS will be a regional training centre which will build on the ongoing cooperation between the US and Cyprus in training officials from neighbouring countries, such as Lebanon and Egypt.

Phileleftheros cites sources pointing out that the RoC government is pleased by the results of the Pompeo visit, firstly because the US Secretary of State supported the RoC’s proposal that Turkey should negotiate with Cyprus over the EEZ, and secondly because the US recognised the role that Cyprus can play in the region.

In a press conference, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu repeated that Turkey is open to entering a dialogue but that it wouldn’t accept preconditions. Haravgi reports. Cavusoglu said that if “some want to impose preconditions on Turkey, then we also have preconditions that need to be fulfilled” and called on Greece to come to the negotiation table with maps and agreements and examples.

Greek President Ekaterini Sakellaropoulou said during a visit to Kastelorizo that immediate de-escalation is a precondition for dialogue with Turkey, the dailies report. The visit was timed to coincide with the 77th anniversary of the acquisition of the island by Greece. Sakellaropoulou said that Turkey’s decision to not renew the NAVTEX for the work conducted by Oruc Reis, and the fact that the ship returned to Antalya, were positive developments.

Sakellaropoulou said that Turkey’s actions have caused tensions without precedent, and that its actions sent messages not only to Greece but also to the EU and NATO. She underlined that the country will follow the road of diplomacy and dialogue in coordination with the international community, and will not give in to threats.

Meanwhile Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar visited the island of Kas, which is opposite of Kastelorizo, on the day of Sakellaropoulou’s visit. In a speech he reiterated Turkey’s demand for the demilitarisation of 18 Greek islands, including Kastelorizo, calling Sunday’s celebration by Greece on the island a provocation.


Cyprus Academic Dialogue: Famagusta should be catalyst for solution

Phileleftheros
CBMs, Territory, Property, Negotiations Process

OVERVIEW

Phileleftheros cites statements by academics Nicos Peristianis and Yucel Vural regarding the future of Famagusta and the ways in which it can be used as a catalyst for a solution. The newspaper notes that the two are co-president of the bicommunal Cyprus Academic Dialogue and have often come up with new ideas regarding the negotiations process, including the suggestion for a semi-presidential system for a reunified Cyprus.

Peristianis and Vurel point out that the city of Famagusta must regain its historical role as a cosmopolitan, tourist and cultural centre in the region. Vural said that both communities would benefit from working as one entity, keeping their autonomy in some issues but maintaining close cooperation on others.

Peristianis points out that UN Security Council Resolution 550 calls for the return of the fenced off city to its legal inhabitants under the UN’s administration. This renders recent initiatives to reopen the city under T/C control illegal, he added, but also pointed out that it rules out the possibility of returning the area only to G/C control.

The two academics spoke of a report issued by the CAD with ideas on Famagusta, which were discussed in an event with representatives of the municipal authorities from both sides. They argue that the guidelines for the solution of this particular issue have been set out by resolution 550, and that it provides for a transitional arrangement which could change after a solution.

Vurel pointed out that the UN resolution does not get into detail on how to administer Famagusta, but suggested that there should be an administrator appointed by the Security Council. Peristianis added that there would also be a municipal authority that will be closely coordinating with the UN administration.

The two academics cited the example of the city of Brcko in Bosnia, which remains self-governing. They noted that no two cases are the same and that Famagusta should be a catalyst for a future solution. Peristianis noted that the model of bicommunal autonomous cities could be also used for areas such as Nicosia and Morphou.