GCC Press Review 27 Jan 2021

Front Page Headlines


Backhanders to middlemen and political pressures for ‘golden’ passports

Revelations to the Investigative Committee by Archbishop Chrysostomos and C. Petrides. Archbishop: “I told the President that we had to stop stealing and I included myself.” ‘Correction’ after the wave of criticism. C. Petrides: “A Metropolitan requested the granting of citizenship to a smuggler who had a casino in the occupied areas. Pressure was exerted from MEP and MP.” Interventions for the granting of citizenship to a Russian who was on the EU’s sanctions list for the occupation of Crimea. They claimed that relations with Russia would be damaged.

  • Corruption: President to respond to criticism with national address
  • Commerce Ministry: 400 million euros for development
  • EU-AstraZeneca: War over the delays of doses
  • Elsie Slonim: The woman of the Buffer Zone ‘gone’
  • With plan: Battle for relaxation of measures


Without churches and schools

Shops to open, they’re unsure about malls, restaurants later on. The Finance Minister to submit costs to businesses-economy, the Health Minister to submit epidemiological data. Decisions today.

  • Guterres balancing ahead of informal five-party
  • Turkey standing on two boats in EU
  • Petrides saw dangers of CIP (Citizenship-by-Investment Programme) from 2017
  • War over vaccines between EU and pharmaceutical industries: Stella: They are bound by contracts that they must abide by
  • Adverse reactions of 22 people to vaccines: Diarrhoea, shivers, discomfort and fatigue were the most severe adverse reactions recorded in Cyprus among 22 people after their vaccination against coronavirus.
  • Eviction ultimatums to 600 foreigners
  • They’re asking for €500 medical exams from candidate contract soldiers: They were left hanging and aren’t covered by GESY – The Defence Ministry shrugging its shoulders Pre-GESY, the cost was shouldered by the National Guard with its own medical staff.
  • Andri gave complementary statement yesterday: The accused being called in to give a statement


They were stealing and they were aware…

“You should also look at the economy, President, but all of us must stop stealing, and I include myself,” the Archbishop told Anastasiades. At the same time, speaking before the Investigative Committee on citizenships, the Archbishop admitted that he sent letters to Ministers to expedite applications… The ‘golden passports’ programme created “dependencies” and “interests”, the Finance Minister states. “Hungarian investor got a passport and then he came to me.” After Harris, Petrides too laid blame on S. Hasikos. AKEL: President and government are part of the problem.

  • Turkey will be judged at five-party: J. Borrell briefed FM on his meeting with Cavusoglu
  • S. Kyriakidou’s handling provoking reactions
  • Drugs help in dealing with Covid-19: Also in the battle against coronavirus are the drugs colchicine and Plitidepsin. They are not for prevention or treatment, but help with milder symptoms – Twenty-two reports of possible side effects from vaccination. Not all 90-year-olds have set appointment. The Portal opens for 88-year-olds.

Cyprus Mail

Challenging bill to cause ‘chaos’

Interior minister warns against changes to local government reform bill by opposition.

  • Turkish Cypriot authorities lock down Nicosia and Kyrenia
  • Archbishop Chrysostomos on Tuesday testified before the panel investigating the island’s citizenship by investment programme, scoffing when he was questioned about taking bribes (photo caption)


EU: Hits the brakes on Turkey over two states

Borrell visit to Cyprus expected prior to five-party. The Security Council votes in favour of single state, single sovereignty. The EU clarified that it will not accept changing the basis of Cyprus Problem solution. Wishes to be present in talks because even after a solution the Republic of Cyprus will continue to be a member state.

  • “The money was a lot…”: What C. Petrides said in his testimony to the investigative committee on citizenships – “I received pressure even from an MEP and an MP.”
  • Law on EastMed to be put to a vote tomorrow
  • Leonidas Pantelides: Misinterpretation on grave of missing persons under the flag at Pentadaktylos
  • National Guard: Regulations to locate non-compliant reservists
  • Coronavirus: The first relaxations to be announced today
  • Natasa Pilidou: €90m schemes for 2021 for households and businesses

Main News

Tatar justifies two-state solution to UNSG

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


The dailies report on a discussion held between the Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar and the UN Secretary-General (UNSG) Antonio Guterres late on Monday via teleconference, with Tatar remaining firm in his position in favour of a two-state solution.

Philelftheros reports that the call took place in view of the UNSG’s efforts to keep equal distances between the two sides, as Guterres had spoken with President Anastasiades on January 11.

Citing a written statement from the Turkish Cypriot leader’s spokesperson on Tuesday, the dailies report that Tatar stood firmly in favour of a two-state solution, backing his position with historical events that he claimed justify changing the basis of the sought-after solution. These included the collapse of the central government in 1963 and the setting up of separate administrations, the fault for which Tatar said lies with the Greek Cypriot side, and the 1974 confirmation in Geneva that Cyprus included two autonomous administrations.

“Equal status on both sides is an acceptable historical reality in Cyprus,” Tatar told Guterres, according to the dailies. Tatar also said that the negotiations on the basis of a federal solution that began in Beirut in 1968 and that have spanned over half a century ended in failure due to the “intransigent stance of the Greek Cypriot side, which refuses to share power, administration and wealth on the island with Turkish Cypriots.”

The Turkish Cypriot leader also told Guterres that Turkish Cypriots have been “trapped in an inhumane isolation and this can no longer continue,” and reiterated his call for a new basis for negotiations that would reflect the current realities.

In what Alithia called a “show of intransigence”, Tatar told the UNSG that “a fair, realistic, and sustainable compromise must be based on sovereign equality and the cooperation of two states with equal international status.”

While Haravgi reports that Tatar stated that he expects common ground to be found during the informal summit that would allow formal negotiations to take place, Phileleftheros and Alithia attribute this expectation to the UNSG, who also told Tatar that he understands the position and goals of the Turkish Cypriot side and that the latter may try to explain them in the five-party summit.

Haravgi, citing sources from New York, reports that the UNSG reminded Tatar of the parameters laid out by the UN Security Council (UNSC).

Two states of equal status justified by historical and ongoing events which show that the Greek Cypriot side does not want to share power.
>> Reiterates position for solution involving two states with sovereign equality and equal international status as a fair and sustainable compromise.

Turkey loosens stance on two-state solution

Alithia, Phileleftheros, Politis
Negotiations Process


Alithia and Politis report on a more flexible stance toward the Cyprus Problem solution being sought by Turkey, as recently communicated by the Turkish Foreign Minister Melvut Cavusoglu to EU officials in Brussels.

The papers report that Cavusoglu reiterated that Turkey favours a two-state solution given the circumstances, but said the country was not absolute on this matter and would be open to negotiations on any solution basis. Alithia reports that Cavusoglu said Turkey was going to the five-party summit with a positive attitude and approach, halting provocations in Cyprus and the Aegean, and applauding the EU’s decision to participate in talks as an observer.

Politis and Phileleftheros report this shift in Turkey’s stance is due to its goal of using the Cyprus Problem to better relations with the EU.

Phileleftheros reports that the EU’s Foreign Policy chief Josep Borrell told Foreign Minister Nicos Christodoulides that Turkey has expressed interest in boosting relations with the EU, which the country is working towards through its exploratory talks with Greece and through the Cyprus Problem. Politis cites sources claiming that the EU told Ankara that it refuses to see any changes to the basis of the sought-after solution, with Turkey having to take constructive steps in both the Cyprus Problem and its relations with Greece if it wishes to see improvements in its relations with the EU.

Phileleftheros reports that Turkey is promoting the idea of boosting dialogue among Eastern Mediterranean states, in a way that allows Turkey to appear as a regional problem-solver, but is laying down terms that involve either the exclusion of the Republic or the participation of the north. Phileleftheros reports this proposal is not gaining support.

Politis reports that Cavusoglu’s “iconic conciliatory approach” is related to the EU’s approach to the Cyprus Problem and the bloc’s desired solution.

Phileleftheros reports that though Brussels is suspicious of Turkey’s shift in stance, it is open to providing space to Turkey to make its moves in case positive developments arise.

Cyprob an EU matter, Borrell tells Christodoulides

Alithia, Phileleftheros
EU Matters


Alithia and Phileftheros report on the meeting held on Tuesday between the Cyprus Foreign Minister Nicos Christoulides and the EU’s Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell, who did not rule out paying a visit to Cyprus ahead of the informal five-party summit.

The papers report that Borrell’s potential visit will serve to send a clear message regarding the EU’s consistent interest and support for a new round of formal negotiations. Phileleftheros reports Borrell’s visit will also have to do with a report that he will be submitting before the European Council in March, which will also include a chapter on Turkey’s role in efforts to resolve the Cyprus Problem.

Phileleftheros and Alithia report that the Cyprus Problem was recorded as a European matter, since the Republic of Cyprus will continue being a member state post-solution. Phileleftheros reports that Borrell has relayed to all interested parties including Turkey, that the EU wishes to be present in Cyprus Problem processes.

Given that the EU wishes the Republic to be a viable member state after a solution, the EU insists on not changing the basis of a solution, Phileleftheros and Alithia report. The papers report that both parties reaffirmed the need for Turkey to prove its positive stance in practice.

Reference to resolution on BBF in upcoming UNFICYP renewal

Negotiations Process


Regarding the UN Security Council’s (UNSC) pending resolution on the renewal of the UNFICYP mandate, Alithia cites diplomatic sources saying that the Republic of Cyprus has succeeded in getting a clear reference to UNSC Resolution 1251, which states the basis of the Cyprus Problem solution as a bizonal bicommunal federation.

Alithia reports that Resolution 1251 states that a solution must result in one Cypriot state with single sovereignty, international personality and citizenship, and must comprise two politically equal communities in a bicommunal and bizonal federation.

CMP refutes reports of GC grave under Pentadaktylos flag



The Greek Cypriot member of the Committee on Missing Persons (CMP), Leonidas Pantelides, said reports regarding the existence of a Greek Cypriot grave under the Pentadaktylos flag are based on misinterpretations, Alithia reports.

Setting the record straight, Pantelides said that there were and currently are graves of missing persons in areas near the Pentadaktylos flag, clarifying that the CMP does not have information suggesting that there are any graves beneath the flag itself.

Pantelides said that past excavations that took place some hundreds of metres south or southwest of the flag did in some cases uncover remains of missing persons.

Alithia also reports that the Turkish Cypriot member of the CMP, Hakkı Muftuzade, also refuted reports regarding the existence of a grave under the flag. Muftuzade said the missing persons are a sensitive humanitarian issue, and warned against the publication of baseless information which only serve to create insecurity and tension.

Plenum to vote on ratification of East Med Gas Forum



The House Committee on Foreign Affairs on Tuesday examined and approved the draft legislation ratifying the East Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF), which will be put to a vote before the plenum on Thursday.

Energy Minister Natasa Pilides told the Cyprus News Agency (CNA) after the Committee meeting that the EMGF is crucial for the geopolitical role of Cyprus in the Eastern Mediterranean and for exploiting the region’s natural gas resources.

EMGF has seven founding members: Egypt, Cyprus, Greece, Israel, Italy, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority. Pilides said the EU, the United States, the United Arab Emirates and Russia, have shown “strong interest” to obtain observer status, and France has expressed interest to be a full member.

Asked to comment on reports regarding Israel’s wish to see Turkey included in the Forum, Pilides said that the EMGF is open to all countries in the region that may want to become members, as long as they respect the energy rights of member states but also international law and the law of the sea. She added that Cyprus would also like to see Turkey join if the country was ready to take part under these conditions.

Citing diplomatic sources, Alithia reports that Cyprus has been assured by Israel that it will not be pursuing its wish for the inclusion of Turkey in the EMGF if relations between Cyprus and Turkey do not stabilise.

Head of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Giorgos Lillikas, said Cyprus is eager to quickly ratify the law as a meeting between the founding members who have already ratified the agreement has been scheduled for February.

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