GCC Press Review 16 Oct 2020

Front Page Headlines

Politis

The people showed him the way out

A full stop to Demetris Syllouris’ presence in the commons. He left without apologising and without a trace of the sense of his responsibility in Cyprus’ international ridicule. President Nicos Anastasiades and (DISY leader) Averof Neophytou convinced him there was no other way than resignation. AKEL’s New Forces’ MP Adamos Adamou will most probably unanimously elected as the new House President.  

  • EU-Turkey: A week’s deadline to Erdogan
  • Occupied areas: It’s raining… allowances ahead of the ‘elections’
  • New record: We broke the 100 cases barrier

Phileleftheros

The Giovani file is being opened

All the cases of the business group will be investigated. Testimonies also by officials of the interior ministry. MOKAS (Unit for Combating Money Laundering) is intensifying investor checks. More cases to the fore, a project of the Giovani Group is before the EU Commission. A €3m personal loan from two natural persons. Syllouris’ departure from parliament is lucrative (for him).

  • Erdogan is waging an election campaign in the occupied areas
  • Josep Borrell is being evasive
  • They are advertising abroad that 10 days have been left for the great opportunity – They are rushing to sell off Cypriot passports before November 1.
  • New record of 104 cases yesterday, concerns are high – Hospitals are standing by.

Haravgi

Golden sales touting with ‘last chance’ slogans

The small window of opportunity left open by  the Anastasiades government and DISY for the continuation of applications until November 1 when the citizenship programme will be terminated, has given  mediators the opportunity to organise an advertisement campaign with ‘last chance’ slogans referring to selling off passports.

  • They insist on dialogue for de-escalation: Different opinions again on the stance the European Council must keep today on Turkey – Heiko Maas: The new dispatch of Oruc Reis is inadmissible. Appeal by David Sassoli for backing the German initiative.
  • Akinci: Message for solution and laicism
  • Parliament is getting a face lift with two new MPs and a new President

Cyprus Mail

Daily Covid-19 cases pass 100

President appeals to public, ministry says people are too complacent.

  • Varosha: Visiting the past – (Photo caption)Pavlos lacovou and Anna Marangou in front of their old school in Varosha. They were part of a group of six Greek Cypriot refugees who visited the fenced-off area in Famagusta that is under Turkish military control. The six refugees were accompanied by CNA photographer Katia Christodoulides along the streets opened last week by the Turkish Cypriot government backed by Turkey.
  • EU summit: France, Germany warn Turkey
  • Syllouris resigns under pressure but insists that he broke no laws

Alithia

How things turn out

Demetris Syllouris: The great fall after 29 years. (AKEL MP) Adamos Adamou: The great return after four years.

  • (EU) High-level meeting: A week’s deadline to Turkey
  • Occupied areas-elections: Synergies have clarified
  • Coronavirus: The situation is dangerously getting out of control – Yesterday we broke all records with 104 cases. Cases in Limassol are much more compared with those in other districts. A stop to the use of nargileh.

Main News

EU members warn Ankara it’s being watched

Alithia, Cyprus Mail, Haravgi, Phileleftheros, Politis
EU Matters, Energy, Regional/International Relations

OVERVIEW

The dailies report that the EU has given Turkey one week to change its stance in the Eastern Mediterranean or the balance of power would change.

The European Council that started on Thursday and will continue on Friday is not expected to include Turkey in its conclusions since the EU leaders agreed to review the possibility of sanctions on Turkey in December but the issue is expected to be discussed while Ankara has been warned that it is being watched.

Cyprus Mail, Politis and Alithia report that France and Germany accused Turkey on Thursday of continuing to provoke the European Union with its actions in the Eastern Mediterranean and urged it to clarify its positions in the coming weeks. Politis and Alithia report Turkey was given one week, while Cyprus Mail reports Maas said a few weeks.

The call follows the return of Turkey’s survey ship Oruc Reis back in the Eastern Mediterranean, off Greece. Turkey withdrew the vessel last month, just before the EU summit, at which economic sanctions were discussed, only to redeploy it on Monday.

“It’s clear to us that Turkey is permanently carrying out provocative acts which are unacceptable,” France’s Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told a news conference alongside his German and Polish counterparts.

He said the ball was in Ankara’s court, but that the EU was ready to change the balance of power if Turkey didn’t return to dialogue.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Turkey’s decision to send the vessel back to the Mediterranean was “inadmissible”. Asked about the possibility of bringing forward EU sanctions, he said the bloc would decide how to react in the coming weeks.

“It’s been twice that expected discussions have not taken place and we don’t know when they will happen,” he said. “We must wait to see if there is progress in a week and then we’ll see what attitude needs to be adopted by the EU.”

A German Foreign Ministry official said Maas indicated that a decision might be taken in December, which is what the EU leaders agreed on earlier this month.

Le Drian also criticised Turkey’s role in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. “What we can see today is the only country which isn’t calling for respect of the ceasefire is Turkey and that’s damaging.”

Greek Prime Minister Kyriacos Mitsotakis said the EU must remain consistent in the decisions it has already taken in relation to Turkey so that, if it continues its provocative and aggressive behaviour, to bear the corresponding consequences.

 Haravgi, Politis and Phileleftheros cite EU High Representative Josep Borrell saying that Turkey has perceived as threat the offer the European Council made two weeks ago.

In statements to French Le Monde, Borrell said the Council has recently decided to reach out to Turkey and offer a constructive approach to avoid confrontation while the ‘balance sheet’ must be prepared at the end of the year. “Ankara did not like it and took it as a threat but started a dialogue with Greece at the level of diplomatic advisers,” he said.

Phileleftheros reports that Borrell was evasive when asked about the recent negative messages sent by Turkey with the return of one of its drilling rigs in the Eastern Mediterranean and opening part of the Varosha fended area, since he turned the discussion on the migration issue. He said Turkey no longer wants to attract migrants who want to reach Europe and that the EU’s relationship with Turkey has obviously been damaged by the country’s internal political problems, Phileleftheros reports.

Haravgi reports that some EU leaders insist on dialogue despite Turkey’s unreliability. The daily reported that the EU leaders continue to disagree on how to deal with Turkey since President of the European Parliament David Sassoli called on the EU27 to fully back Germany’s mediation efforts with Turkey while French President Emmanuel Macron said that on Friday they would set the EU’s demands as regards Turkey. Luxembourg’s Prime Minister Xavier Bettel said though Turkey’s reaction lately was not what they expected and he understands why Greece and Cyprus cannot wait until December, but interrupting German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s efforts with Turkey and impose sanctions now could send the wrong message, the daily reported.

Phileleftheros and Haravgi also cite Greek state broadcaster ERT that reported that Turkey on Wednesday was refusing to give an airplane transferring Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias from Iraq to Greece permission to fly over its territory. The Turkish authorities had refused to approve the overflight permission request by the Greek airplane forcing in circles over Iraq for around 20 minutes before the vessel was finally allowed to fly over Turkey.

Phileleftheros reports that ERT’s reporter on diplomatic relations Nicos Meletis said this move by Ankara was not in line with the principle of good neighbourly relations, showed an unfriendly stance while it raised safety issued given that the area Dendias’ plane was forced to fly in circles did not have any airports nearby that could be used in case of emergency.

Spokesperson of Turkey’s foreign ministry Hami Aksoy refuted the claims, the daily reported, arguing that an overflight permission was requested on 14 October and the Greek side was promptly informed that the said permission was granted. Upon the technical failure of the said aircraft in Iraq, the Greek side allocated a second aircraft for Dendias’s flight and that due to time constraint, Greek authorities were informed without delay that the aircraft in question was allowed to use Turkish airspace with the same flight permit.

The news alleging that Dendias’ aircraft was kept on hold before entering Turkish airspace are intentionally misleading and are not accurate, Aksoy said, Phileleftheros reports.

KEY ACTORS
Le Drian (France MFA)
>>
Turkey is permanently carrying out provocative acts which are unacceptable.
>> The EU is ready to change the balance of power if Turkey does not return to dialogue.

Maas (Germany MFA)
>>
Turkey’s decision to send the vessel back to the Mediterranean is inadmissible.
>> The bloc will give Turkey one week to change its stance before it decided its own attitude on Ankara.

Mitsotakis (Greece)
>>
Wants the EU to remain consistent in the decisions it has already taken in relation to Turkey so that it bears the corresponding consequences if it continues its provocative and aggressive behaviour.

Borrell (EU diplomacy)
>>
Turkey has perceived as threat the EUCO’s decision two weeks ago to reach out to it & offer a constructive approach to avoid confrontation but in the meantime Ankara did start a dialogue with Greece at diplomatic level.
>>  Turkey no longer wants to attract migrants who want to reach Europe.
>> The EU’s relationship with Turkey has been damaged by the country’s internal political problems.

Sassoli (European Parliament)
>>
Calls on EU member states to back Germany’s mediation efforts with Turkey.

Macron (France)
>>
Wants the bloc to set its demands as regards Turkey.

Bettel (Luxembourg)
>>
Though understands why Greece & Cyprus want sanctions on Turkey here and now, doing so while Germany’s mediation effort is underway could harm the process.


Six suspects in Dherynia crossing incident referred to trial

Alithia, Phileleftheros
Internal Security, Property, Human Rights

OVERVIEW

Alithia reports that six men aged 41, 29, 27, 25, 22 and 21 will be tried in connection with the rally last Sunday at the Dherynia crossing.

They are being investigated for riot, property damage, participation in a criminal organisation and conspiracy to commit felony.

The daily reports that police are trying to locate more people who participated at the same rally. During the protest, two security stop bars were damaged at the crossing point as well as two surveillance cameras.

Phileleftheros reports that another protest is to take place at the Dherynia crossing on Saturday organised by the Initiate to honour the Memories of Isaac and Solomou against the Turkification of the fenced town of Famagusta.

The group called on all refugees, not just those from Famagusta, to join the event.  It also said it questions promises for the return of one part of Varosha to its lawful owners and that Kyrenia, Morphou, Karpasia, Mesaoria and half of Nicosia must not be sacrificed for the sake of compromise.

The daily, in another article, reports that DIKO leader Nicolas Papadopoulos has sent a letter to heads of state and government that are members of the EU’s Socialists and Democrats political group briefing them on illegal Turkish actions and especially on the issue of Famagusta.

Papadopoulos calls on the leaders to demand that Turkey implement the relevant UN resolutions on Famagusta and the return of its legal inhabitants and to proceed with imposing sanctions on Turkey.

This letter is part of the party’s initiative to raise awareness among EU officials and leaders and follows a video conference Papadopoulos had with the head of the Socialist and Democrats group.


Varosha refugees visit their town after 46 years

Cyprus Mail
Property, Territory, Human Rights

OVERVIEW

The dailies report on the return of a small group of Varosha refugees this week to the fenced area where their homes are.

The group, Anna Marangou, Pavlos and Toula Iacovou, Annita and Nicos and Christos Karoulas, went back to the fenced part of Varosha years later along a crew of the Cyprus News Agency.

One of them, Pavlos Ioannou, was able to enter Florida hotel his grandfather built and which was also his home. They strolled around the recently opened part of Varosha reminiscing about their childhood and youth, and giving a tour of the area, the beach and the Kennedy and Dimokratia Avenues.

Most of them could see their homes but they were not able to go there because the roads were closed. One woman tried to go but was stopped by an official in civilian clothes.

Marangou also walked up to her uncle’s house on Kennedy Avenue which many people though it belonged to actress Sophia Loren. She said Loren never visited Varosha let alone bought a house there. She added that her uncle Demetris had in that house the largest library on Cypriot works,  manuscripts, hagiographies,  works of great painters such as Ioannou from Varosha.

 Marangou said years later she found some of her uncle’s books at auction houses and bought them back and was told that some of his books still are in Kyrenia in the warehouses that artworks by GCs are stored.

Nicos and Andreas Karoulas saw their father Andreas’ pharmacy on Evagorou Avenue. They said it was the only one with a sign in Greek and Turkish since the pharmacy had a Turkish investor.


Syllouris resigns under public pressure

Alithia, Cyprus Mail, Haravgi, Phileleftheros, Politis
Migration & Citizenship, Governance & Power Sharing

OVERVIEW

The dailies report that House president Demetris Syllouris resigned on Thursday under public pressure following the revelation he would be willing to help a Chinese businessman with a criminal record secure a Cypriot citizenship.

Syllouris, who said he had not broken any law, said he was resigning as House president and was also giving up his seat in parliament.

AKEL MP Adamos Adamou assumed the House President duties as the most senior deputy until a new one is chosen.

Some papers reported that Adamou is expected to be chosen by the parties as the next House President, to serve until next year’s parliamentary elections.

Former television and radio presenter Roulla Georgiadou from Solidarity Movement will fill Syllouris’ MP seat and Yiannakis Gavriel will fill the AKEL seat left vacant after Christakis Giovanis, who is also implicated in the same case, stepped down on Tuesday.