GCC Press Review 22 Oct 2020

Front Page Headlines


Devil came and took us over passports

Insulting letter by Commissioner for Justice to Foreign Minister. When the European Commission was warning us, we responded with lessons on international law and defended the “right” to sell citizenships. The Republic of Cyprus has to answer for undermining the system of European citizenship, which concerns and affects all 26 member states. The Commission demands all evidence on naturalisations of “investor” as it finds that they are 15% of total naturalisations.

  • Trilateral with Egypt: Triple gain for Nicosia
  • AKEL – DIKO: President against the wall over naturalisations
  • Dissolution of parliament: Proposal gains ground
  • Looking for solutions: Pandemic noose tightens


Tough terms from Tatar

His first demands put to Anastasiades are continuation of pseudostate and guarantees. First appointment agreed.

  • Resounding message to Turkey from eighth trilateral
  • THOK (Cyprus Theatre Organisation) not to be dissolved due to Deputy Ministry for Culture: Organisation remains as is, only the remit for theatrical development changes – Concerns for Department of Antiquities because of occupied areas
  • Ministers and scientists to confer: Ramping up of Covid-19 measures on desk of Council of Ministers
  • Pressure on Al Jazeera for journalists to testify
  • They were abused in 1974 and they look for them in 2020


Says he’s irreproachable, but scandals multiply

N. Anastasiades pronounced himself innocent of all charges. “Golden” passports go to European Parliament today. AKEL: “It’s a pity, at least let the lying end”.

  • They hope for a change in Tatar’s position
  • 127 new cases of COVID-19. More than 20 people needing hospitalisation and trend is rising
  • AKEL secretary general: President should take responsibility for sad results
  • Slap from the Commission also over unfair terms – In the dock also for unfair terms from banks and developers – Revelations by Commission after intervention of AKEL MEP

Cyprus Mail

Greece calls on EU to act tough

Turkey’s ‘imperial fantasies’ mean it does not deserve customs union.

  • Cyprus: Tatar says he’s proud to be Turkey’s man in the north


Panicking over coronavirus, Cypriots bought all flu shots

Not even a sample left in pharmacies, out of stock in the blink of an eye.

  • Joint front by Cyprus – Greece – Egypt against Turkish provocations
  • Kotzias angry: “It is time to say the truth about all that happened in Crans Montana”
  • Coronavirus: Another 127 cases yesterday, going for new measures today
  • Nicos Anastasiades: I will quit if I’m implicated in Al Jazeera revelations
  • Naturalisations: Developments on many fronts because of Al Jazeera
  • In favour of Turkish guarantees: Tatar: We want two states, federation is a trap

Main News

Tatar insists on continuity of ‘TRNC’ and Turkish guarantees

Alithia, Cyprus Mail, Haravgi, Phileleftheros
Negotiations Process, Governance & Power Sharing, External Security


Phileleftheros reports that newly elected T/C leader Ersin Tatar has given indications in public statements and in conversations with President Anastasiades and the UN of his agenda for a new negotiations process. According to the report, the indications point to Tatar wanting a process that will not lead to a bizonal bicommunal federation, that will ensure the continuation of the “TRNC’s” existence and the continuation of Turkey’s guarantees, including the right of intervention.

The newspaper reports also that the first social meeting before the two leaders will take place on Friday, October 30th, pending confirmation by the UN. The initial thinking was for the meeting to take place on Monday, October 26th, but that was impossible since Tatar will travel to Ankara on that day to meet the Turkish government. The next few days are also impractical since October 28th is a holiday in the south (Greek OXI day) and October 29th is a holiday in the north (Turkish Independence Day).

President Anastasiades has informed UNSG Antonio Guterres in writing that he is ready to take part in a new initiative for peace talks by the UN, with a letter sent right after the north’s “presidential” election, on October 19th. Anastasiades noted that he is ready to proceed on the basis of the agreement reached in Berlin on November 25th of last year.

In statements before a private meeting on the margins of Wednesday’s trilateral summit with Egypt, Anastasiades and Greek prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said that they hope that Tatar will not go to the negotiation table with the positions that he currently espouses. Anastasiades said that he hopes Tatar’s position are not his final aims, because this will derail any process. Mitsotakis also hoped that statements made during the pre-election campaign in the north were made in the spirit of that process.

In another development, former Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias said in a post on social media that he will soon speak about what happened during the Crans Montana conference in 2017, saying he will do so in an interview on CyBC on Thursday, October 29th.

Kotzias was responding to criticism of him from both Athens and Nicosia, and said that there is a “united front of support to Turkish nationalism in Athens and Nicosia”. He notes that the result of the election in the north is a side effect of the presence of the Turkish army, adding that this shows it is Turkey who runs the north. He criticised anyone who tries to assign any responsibility to Cypriot governments.

He criticised those that say that the G/C side or Greece are to blame for the failure of the process in Crans Montana, and said they reproduced narratives pushed by former UNSG envoy Espen Barth Eide and the British government. He took care to differentiate the role of the then deputy Foreign Minister of the UK from that of the former UK former minister and current prime minister, Boris Johnson, who he said displayed a dignified approach.

Haravgi reports that AKEL secretary general Andros Kyprianou responded to an interview by President Anastasiades broadcast by Sigma TV on Tuesday. Kyprianou said in a press conference that what Anastasiades casts as “myths” regarding the events in Crans Montana, is in fact what the UNSG himself was aware of when he didn’t cast blame on Turkey.

Kyprianou also responded to the President’s claim that he bears no blame for the lack of progress since 2017. He asked why Anastasiades did not accept former T/C leader Mustafa Akinci’s proposal in 2018 to turn the Guterres Framework into a strategic deal. He pointed out that what Anastasiades did was to ask Akinci if he had Turkey’s permission before speaking and to bring up the question of whether there was another framework finalised on July 4th, 2017, which was proven never to have existed.

Political parties Citizens’ Alliance and Solidarity expressed their concerns over the possibility of a resumption of negotiations, according to Phileleftheros. Citizens’ Alliance noted that the UNSG has not set a time frame for a new initiative and that he does not say he will begin his own initiative and instead simply supports the two sides. Solidarity accused Anastasiades of moving ahead with negotiations while Turkey continues to impose faits accomplis in Famagusta and the Cypriot EEZ.

The dailies report also on information published in the north that Rauf Denktas’s grandson, Rauf Alp Denktas, will be the T/C negotiator. Denktas works at Turkey’s Foreign Ministry and has worked for many years in Turkey’s Permanent Representation at the UN. It is also reported that Tatar will swear in as T/C leader in “parliament” on Friday.

Haravgi reports, citing a translated interview from Yeni Bakis, that political scientist Sevki Kiralp noted that Tatar could be saying he wants a two-state solution, but will negotiate for a federation if he is given the order from Turkey.

Kiralp also pointed out that the candidates supporting a federal solution gathered more than 50% of the votes during the first round and that in the second round Mustafa Akinci still received 48% of the votes. This means, he said, that there is no clear majority among the T/Cs rejecting a federal solution.

Commissioner Reynders accuses Cyprus of not heeding warnings

Alithia, Haravgi, Phileleftheros, Politis
Migration & Citizenship, Internal Security, EU Matters


Politis publishes the contents of a letter sent by European Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders to Cypriot Foreign Minister Nicos Christodoulides on the passports issue. Reynders takes care to lay down in the letter the ways in which Cyprus has broken European law and is particularly harsh, the newspaper reports.

Reynders points out in the letter, dated October 20th, that the measures that have been announced by the government are not compatible with European law, and that Cyprus undermines the trust in EU citizenship with its behaviour.

He also lists the number of times that the EU expressed its concerns and directly warned Cyprus. He pointed out that Cyprus responded by making changes to the programme while allowing it to essentially function as a means of selling passports.

The Commissioner also draws attention to the fact that 15% of naturalisations given by Cyprus were given to investors that never had the obligation to stay in the country, and that very few applications were rejected. He also addresses the fact that service providers openly advertised the programme as an opportunity for investors to gain access to the entire EU, and asks the government to give specific information on all naturalisations since 2013.

In another development, President Anastasiades said, during an interview on Sigma TV late Tuesday night that was covered extensively by the daily press after being discussed on the media on Wednesday, that he is ready to quit if it is shown that he was involved in illegal dealings surrounding the golden passport scheme. Anastasiades said that, therefore, he does not believe he is at risk.

Anastasiades also said during his interview that in the Al Jazeera video all those involved never brought up the possibility of interceding directly with him, which shows that he was not involved.

Politis also reports that opposition parties AKEL and DIKO criticised the President on Wednesday, following the interview. AKEL’s spokesperson wondered whether the President lives in a parallel universe since he does not seem to mind that people related to him or people from the law firm bearing his name have been profiting from the programme. AKEL also accused the government of a lack of sensitivity and responsibility.

DIKO official Chrisis Pantelides called on the President to apologise over the shame brought to the Republic of Cyprus instead of attacking the opposition. The party said that it would expect the President to show more humility and self-awareness.

DISY parliamentary spokesperson Nicos Tornaritis said on Sigma TV on Wednesday that Cyprus became a laughing stock due to a video at the expensive house of an AKEL MP and leading official of the party. He said he apologises on behalf of others’ mistakes and wondered if AKEL was not aware of what was happening, adding that DISY will not accept morality lessons form DIKO.

Cyprus-Egypt-Greece condemn Turkish actions in region

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


All the dailies report on the results of the Trilateral Summit between President Anastasiades, Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

After the meeting, Anastasiades said on behalf of all three leaders that Cyprus, Greece and Egypt condemn Turkey’s actions in maritime areas that have already been delineated on the basis of international law by Cyprus and Egypt, and in Greece’s continental shelf.

The three leaders also condemned Turkey’s actions regarding the fenced-off city of Varosha and called on the country to respect the relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council.

Phileleftheros reports that the three leaders agreed in a joint statement that Turkey is playing a dangerous role in the region, and also reiterated their support for a solution on Cyprus on the basis of UN Security Council resolutions and international law.

The three countries also repeated that they are committed to creating a permanent secretariat for their trilateral cooperation, which will be based in Nicosia. They therefore announced that they will be shortly appointing representatives to this secretariat, aiming to put it in operation by the end of 2020. They also welcomed the signing of the constitution of the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum, which will be based in Cairo.

Meanwhile, in a statement at the plenary of the European Parliament on Wednesday, European Council President Charles Michel said that the EU should show decisiveness in order to protect the sovereign rights of its member states, Phileleftheros reports.

Michel said, responding to a question, that he understands what is happening in the Eastern Mediterranean, noting that he was a member of the Council for six years as prime minister of Belgium before becoming its President. And noted that a comprehensive discussion on the region has begun for the first time, only a few weeks ago.

Michel also noted that the Council wants there to be also a positive agenda to the extent that it is possible, and which will depend on whether Turkey puts an end to its unacceptable behaviour. He also said that the EU is in constant contact with Turkey in a UN context because it has a role to play especially regarding Cyprus.

In another development, NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg said he is concerned about the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean, and underlined that there is a need for Greece and Turkey to successfully use the de-escalation mechanism created under the auspices of the Alliance, Haravgi reports.

Stoltenberg was briefing journalists about Thursday’s and Friday’s teleconference of NATO’s Defence Ministers. He underlined that both Greece and Turkey are valuable allies and added that the danger of an accidental conflict between the two countries is the reason the Alliance assisted Athens and Ankara to formulate this de-escalation mechanism.

He also said that NATO’s efforts are in concert with Germany’s diplomatic efforts to bring about de-escalation between the two countries.

Antiquities Dept. resists moving to Deputy Ministry citing occupation

Governance & Power Sharing


Phileleftheros reports on the preparations by the government of the new Deputy Ministry for Culture, which will break off from the current Ministry for Education and Culture, and the reactions of the Department of Antiquities which cites dangers regarding antiquities that are located in the north.

The newspaper’s story mainly focuses on the decision that the Cyprus Theatre Organisation (THOK) will not be disbanded and replaced by a State Theatre, due to reactions by its employees who argued they would lose pension and other rights. It was decided that THOK will remain active. It will however lose the remit involving the development of the theatre sector, which will move directly under the Deputy Ministry.

Meanwhile, the Department of Antiquities has disagreed with the plan to move it from the Ministry for Transport and Works and the Attorney General has been asked to give his legal opinion, Phileleftheros reports. The newspaper points out that the officials of the Department of Antiquities consider the move a downgrade, but also bring up a question whether such a move could endanger antiquities in the north.

According to the report, the Department argues that there is a danger that it will lose its authority over antiquities in the north, since its position within the Ministry of Transport and Works is set by the 1960 Constitution. The Attorney General is therefore called to clarify whether that is a credible danger.

The newspaper also notes that all employees that will move to the new Deputy Ministry will enter it under the status of public employees.

The law proposal which is being prepared by the commissioner for legislation in coordination with the Ministry of Education is expected to be handed to Minister Prodromos Prodromou as early as Friday. The bill will then be submitted to the Law Office to be checked, and is planned to reach the House of Representatives before the end of the year.

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