GCC Press Review 20 Nov 2020

Front Page Headlines


Resignation or dismissal for (state treasurer) Rea Georgiou

Yesterday’s revelations by Politis prompted the president’s intervention. A probe is underway by the attorney-general and SELK (Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Cyprus) over Rea’s conflict of interest with her close family members. After Politis’ revelations and the arrest of the state treasurer’s husband, Cypra slaughterhouse closed until further notice causing a stroke in the meat market. The finance ministry’s permanent secretary will seek the opinion of the legal service on whether it is legal to hand over the findings of the probe into a senior official of the state treasury.

  • EU-Turkey: Patience until December
  • Occupied areas: Difficulties for the ‘government’


They are counting down to measures

Alarm by the EU FM on Turkey ahead of December’s high-level meeting. The end of the road is approaching, warn Borrell and Maas.

  • Raid of hooded men in a National Guard outpost
  • (Agriculture Minister Costas) Kadis put half the state in quarantine (after testing positive for coronavirus) – The active minister had contacts.
  • The tests reveal spread (of Covid-19) everywhere – The noose is tightly closing in on all of Cyprus.


The lives of Covid-19 patients are hanging by a thread

Thoughts to request the dispatch of intensive care specialists from China to cover the gap in this field that causes concerns amidst the pandemic. The beds at the reference hospital are getting fewer by the day while doctors have become a ping pong ball between the accident and emergency unit and the Covid-19 treatment units.

  • Sanctions on the table if (Turkey) does not behave
  • The president needs to be clearer on what he means by decentralised federation
  • They implicate Cyprus in military plans (through the presence of Israeli war planes)
  • The CMP’s work is more difficult – Kucuk and her assistant resigned.
  • Varosha: Aerial photo shoot and referral of the owners to the immovable property commission

Cyprus Mail

Treasury chief under scrutiny

Questions raised over a possible conflict of interest as abattoir closes.

  • Turkey’s behaviour is ‘widening its separation’ from EU, Borrell says


The noose around Rea is getting tighter

On the issue of her husband’s slaughterhouse. The government has asked for a ruling from the attorney-general over possible conflict of interest. The issue will be discussed in parliament next Thursday. Parties call for a probe.

  • December is coming: Turkey just before sanctions by the EU
  • Weird incident: Men in hoods and bats invaded a soldiers’ camp

Main News

‘Time is running out,’ EU FMs warn Ankara

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


The EU’s foreign ministers sent Ankara a stern message on Thursday through High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell that the deadline to change her ways as regards the Eastern Mediterranean before the leaders’ summit next month, is fast approaching, the dailies report.

According to the papers, following a video conference of the EU Foreign Affairs Council (FAC), Borrell said time was running out, “and we are approaching a watershed moment in our relationship with Turkey.”

“It is important that Turkey understands that its behaviour is widening its separation from the EU,” he said after the video conference with the EU’s 27 foreign ministers, including Nikos Christodoulides.

“We recall the EU’s solidarity with Cyprus and Greece, and we consider the recent actions and statements by Turkey related to Cyprus contrary to UN resolutions and that they are igniting tensions,” he said.

“In order to return to a positive agenda, as we wish, we will require a fundamental change of attitude on the Turkish side,” he added.

The European Council, he said, will provide crucial direction on this issue next month.

Cyprus Mail, citing Cyprus News Agency sources, reported that the consensus view was that Ankara’s behaviour from October until today proves that it is not interested in taking advantage of the window of opportunity given to it since it chooses to escalate its actions. In this context, the European Council, which will convene in December, will discuss developments, and take decisions based on Turkey’s behaviour, the same sources said.

The dailies also report that German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas called on Turkey to cease provocations in the Eastern Mediterranean if it wants to avoid new discussions about EU sanctions against Ankara at the leaders’ summit in December.

“It is up to Turkey what decision will be taken at the EU summit in December,” Maas said. If the bloc sees no positive signals coming from Turkey by December but only further provocations such as Turkish President RecepTayyip Erdogan’s visit to north Cyprus, he said, “then we are heading for a difficult debate.” The question of imposing sanctions against Turkey would then certainly come up again, he added.

Politis also reports on Moscow’s call on all parties involved to show political will for an early resumption of Cyprus talks. The Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that Russia will continue to closely monitor the situation around the resumption of Cyprus talks. 

Phileleftheros, citing information, reports that in almost all the issues discussed by the FAC, Turkey was involved. In addition to its actions in Cyprus and the Eastern Mediterranean Turkey was also mentioned in the Nagorno-Karabakh issues but also the election of Joe Biden to the presidency of the US, as well as the issue of terrorism.

The foreign ministers of France and Austria were intense on the issue of Turkey with the French official noting the problems Erdogan was causing to Paris through his constant accusation that the French government promotes Islamophobia.

Regarding the change of government in the US, the EU’s foreign ministers expressed hope that with Joe Biden, they would manage to have a common line on Turkey-related  issues.

Politis also reports that Christodoulides had the opportunity to inform his counterparts of Erdogan’s illegal visit to Famagusta as well as TC leader Ersin Tatar’s and Ankara’s intentions to promote a two-state solution on the island.  During yesterday’s FAC, criticism was heard from members against Turkey in relation to developments in Cyprus and Greece but also in Nagorno Karabakh while there were also crucial reports against Turkey also for the terrorist attacks against France and Austria.

The 27 EU foreign ministers insisted on a solution based on what has been agreed so far and the UN Security Council resolutions, the daily reported.

It is also important to record the fact that the German Minister of Foreign Affairs stressed that in case by December Ankara’s stance has not improved then sanctions will be on the table.  However, we should bear in mind that Jane Holl Lute is expected to come to the island with the aim of securing positions that allow even a ray of hope for an informal 5+1 meeting. If Ankara agrees to such a meeting, it will be perceived as a positive attitude on the part of the EU, Politis reported.

The paper also reported that the EU members chose once more the road of patience, referring any decisions to December, while also sending important messages to Ankara through Borrell.

Alithia reported that this was the first time Germany referred so clearly to the possibility of sanctions on Ankara, revealing the Germans’ annoyance with Erdogan’s attitude which has left them exposed. According to the paper, Erdogan’s ‘picnic’ in Varosha was the focus of the FAC with EU ministers expressing surprise and disappointment about the level of Ankara’s provocations at a time when the EU gave Turkey time to comply with international law and return to the talks.

Borrell (EU)
Warns Ankara the time it was given by the EU to change its behaviour is running out.
Turkey must realise that its behaviour is widening its separation from the EU & that in order to return to a positive agenda it must fundamentally change its attitude.
>> The EU considers the recent actions and statements by Turkey related to Cyprus contrary to UN resolutions & that they are igniting tensions.

Maas (Germany-MFA)
Turkey is the one to steer what decision will be taken by the EU leaders in December, since, it must cease provocations in the East Med if it wants to avoid new discussions about sanctions against it.
>> Erdogan’s visit to the north was a provocation.

Zakharova (Russia – MFA)
Russia will continue to closely monitor the situation around the resumption of the Cyprus talks & calls on parties involved to show political will for an early resumption of the talks.

AKEL calls for more details on decentralised federation idea

Alithia, Cyprus Mail, Haravgi, Politis
Negotiations Process, CBMs


Haravgi reports that AKEL leader Andros Kyprianou called on President Nicos Anastasiades to give more clarifications as regards his idea of a decentralised federation and explain which powers he wants to decentralise so that the party can decide if it agrees or not.

Speaking to Alphanews, Kyprianou said that, Anastasiades, who raised the powers and responsibilities of the central government to 27, is now calling for a decentralised federation which would mean reducing the powers and responsibilities of the central government.

 He said that AKEL has been calling on Anastasiades during the past three to four years to further explain his idea but has not given any clarifications as yet.

“We disagree with this approach, believing that only one or two powers that have been agreed upon can be transferred to the constituent entities in order to keep the state united, with single sovereignty, international personality and, of course, citizenship.”

The daily also reports that Foreign Minister Nicos Christodoulides said on CyBC radio yesterday that the idea of ​​decentralising powers without affecting the federal structure of the Cyprus problem solution has been put forward by the president for a year now and that this approach has led to the latest developments in the Cyprus issue and the Anastasiades-Akinci agreement in Berlin. The foreign minister also said that everything agreed in Crans-Montana has been established in the settlement process and that the GC side’s goal is to resolve the Cyprus issue in the agreed framework for a bi-zonal bi-communal federation. He insisted that the ideas of decentralisation do not go beyond this framework, the daily reported.

The dailies report on various issues as regards current affairs reported in TC media.

Alithia, Haravgi, and Cyprus Mail report that TC member of the Committee on Missing Persons (CMP) Gulden Plumer Kucuk announced on Thursday she was stepping down since her contract would not be renewed after it expires at the end of this year.

Kucuk’s assistant also resigned. Kucuk, who has held the post since 2006 when she was appointed by then TC leader Mehmet Ali Talat, said in a written statement that she was stepping down after learning that her contract would not be renewed. She said that from 2006 to date the remains of around half of the missing persons in Cyprus had been located and that she was leaving her post feeling certain she had done her duty to serve her country and the missing persons families.

Politis reports on the situation in the north as regards difficulties faced by the ruling party in forming a ‘government’.

Alithia, citing an interview by Tatar with Azerbaijan’s TV 5, reports that the TC leader is being provocative once more, by reiterating Erdogan’s slogan ‘one nation, three states’ referring to Turkey, Azerbaijan and the pseudo-state.

Kyprianou (AKEL)
Calls on Anastasiades to explain which powers & responsibilities of the central government he suggests are decentralised as part of his decentralised federation idea so that AKEL can decide if it agrees or not.
>> Only one or two powers that have been agreed upon can be transferred to the constituent entities in order to keep the state united, with one sovereignty, an international personality and, of course, one nationality.

Christodoulides (MFA)
The idea of ​​decentralising powers without affecting the federal structure of the Cyprob solution has led to the latest developments in the Cyprus issue & the Anastasiades-Akinci agreement in Berlin.
>> Everything agreed in Crans-Montana has been established in the settlement process.
>> The ideas of decentralisation are within the framework of a BBF solution.

AKEL: No to military exercises with foreign armies

External Security, Regional/International Relations


Main opposition AKEL criticised the presence of Israeli war planes over Cypriot skies as part of a Cyprus-Israel military exercise, arguing that Cyprus’ role is upgraded when it acts as a bridge of peace and cooperation of the peoples of the region and not when it becomes a field of exercises for foreign armies.

Such a thing, the party said, serves neither principled positions “nor the interests of our people.”

“The military collaborations and exercises of Cyprus with armies of countries that for years have been starring in bloodshed and systematic violations of international law in our region do not strengthen, but weaken the position of our country,” the party said.

It added that the Anastasiades government, with its strategic choice to align Cyprus with the US-Israel plans for the Eastern Mediterranean, creates more dangers and not more security for the country and the people. “It causes problems in Cyprus’ relations with other countries of the region and the world, with which our country has always had excellent and mutually beneficial relations.”

AKEL said that for years, the Anastasiades-DISY government “has been cultivating the theory that military cooperation with Israel and the United States will shield the Cypriot EEZ from Turkish aggression and upgrade our country geopolitically.” The Cypriot people, however, are well aware that these schemes have neither curbed Turkish aggression nor prevented illegal Turkish drilling in the Cypriot EEZ, the party said, according to the daily.

Police investigate foiled attack at army camp

Alithia, Phileleftheros
Internal Security


The dailies report that a group of men in hoods and holding bats on Wednesday evening tried to storm into a National Guard camp.

The group initially walked towards the guard who immediately raised the alarm and all soldiers at the camp assumed their positions, which led to the flight of the suspected attackers.

The incident was reported to the police.

Phileleftheros, citing information, reports that the incident is most probably linked with a contraband drug bust that took place last week in the area. Some might think that soldiers at the camp were responsible for the police appearance and wanted to take revenge, the daily reported.

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