GCC Press Review 23 Feb 2021

Front Page Headlines


We must give TCs political equality

Averof Neophytou explains how we will be able to be rid of the occupation, Turkish troops and guarantees. With a bold position, Averof Neophytou is showing how the GC side ought to act ahead of developments in the Cyprus problem. He says he is in favour of giving political equality to the TCs so that the process can proceed and the GC side gets all it has been asking for. The DISY leader made a public call to AKEL for a meeting to discuss the Cyprus problem with Andros Kyprianou hinting it’s public stunt while declaring if his intentions are genuine, then Neophytou “knows how to get in touch with us.” Jane Holl Lute will be back in March for the final coordination before the 5+1 summit, scheduled to take place at the end of April. The EU FMs discussed yesterday a series of issues with the new US FM including that of Turkey.


A race track coach put to the stand

The first sexual abuse case in sports goes to court. The complaints are pouring in. A former metropolitan, a politician and a doctor are under investigation.

  • The UN wants to keep the momentum with Lute’s visit – Practical issues are delaying the announcement. The US is asking the EU for a joint approach as regards Turkey. Israel and Egypt want to build their own pipeline.
  • Opening by Averof on the Cyprus problem and accusations by opposition
  • A game baptised Cyprus’ northern part as Turkish
  • Possible relaxation of measures by March 1


The government refuses to budge on the issue of rents

It rejects a proposal for the state’s contribution in rent reduction.

  • Cyprus problem: If Averof wants coordination, he knows where to find AKEL
  • Representations on Limnitis crossing point by the Kato Pyrgos and other Tylliria communities

Cyprus Mail

Some easing of measures likely

Relaxations will be slow as figures in Limassol remain stubbornly high.

  • DISY leader: we should not reject British plan out of hand


Averof’s four messages

Intervention by the DISY leader: “We need to give TCs political equality to get everything we want.” a) decentralised federation, b) very positive towards a speedy solution, c) yes to the involvement of the British-international factor, d) invitation to AKEL. “I am tired of hearing about what we do not want,” he said to foreign ambassadors whom he continues to brief. Lute returns in March. The government is preparing for all possibilities.

  • Crucial week for relaxations – Gradual return to normality. The political leaders are to be briefed tomorrow.

Main News

Neophytou: Need to say what we want, not what we don’t want

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


The statements by the DISY leader over the need to give TCs political equality are among the main items in Tuesday’s papers.

According to the dailies, Neophytou, after separate meetings with British High Commissioner Stephen Lillie and Dutch ambassador Elke Merks-Schaapveld, welcomed the interest of the international community as regards the process for the solution of the Cyprus problem. “We view the interest of the permanent member states of the Security Council in the Cyprus problem positively, because without international interest the Cyprus problem can never be resolved,” he said.

Neophytou reiterated his position that TCs must be given political equality since this will be the only way that the GC side will be able to be rid of the Turkish occupation, the occupation troops, “the cursed” Treaty of Guarantees of the 1960s but also to be given back territories such as Morphou, Varosha and other areas.

He also said he agreed with President Nicos Anastasiades’ proposal for a decentralised federation which, he described as “wise”, a way to break the deadlock and move the process forward for a speedy solution. He added that he also agreed that giving too many powers to the federal government would lead to a dysfunctional state.

The dailies also report that Neophytou took a swipe at those who reject all options, pointing out that DISY was very positive about finding a solution to the Cyprus problem as soon as possible and chastised those, who 47 years now, express concerns about such a possibility. He also said he was tired of hearing daily what everyone does not want as regards the Cyprus problem and other issues, arguing that no problem is ever resolved by always rejecting any ideas and opinions. Neophytou criticised the negative stance on the federal solution no matter what adjustments are being proposed. “What I cannot accept is the practice, when the central government has too many powers, to reject this because it would be a dysfunctional entity and when we discuss the decentralised federation to also reject it because it has, supposedly, elements of a confederation. In this country, we must decide finally what it is we want,” he said.

Neophytou also extended an invitation to main opposition AKEL for a meeting to discuss the future of the country, calling for unity to be rid of the Turkish occupation. He said he was also open to meetings with other parties as well.

Haravgi, citing information that has been recently made public, reports that the British proposal concerns a loose federation consisting of two sovereign communities with many powers while the central government will ensure single sovereignty, citizenship and international personality. One of the ideas presented is for a rotating presidency, without many responsibilities and two vice-presidents (one GC and one TC) who will co-decide. The British seem to also favour the one TC vote on decisions and a small, flexible Council of Ministers (4 GCs-2 TCs). London favours the acceptance of “political equality”, which the Turks describe as “sovereign equality”, the daily reported. It added that, according to information, AKEL has already sent its messages to London that based on what came to its notice, it was rejecting its proposals that refer to a confederation. The party feels that they are dangerous for the existence of the Republic of Cyprus itself, Haravgi reports.

Haravgi also reports that AKEL leader Andros Kyprianou immediately picked up the gauntlet to Neophytou’s challenge and said that his party has never refused to meet with anyone in order to promote the national interests as long as these interlocutors were honest, consistent and not guided by opportunism or as part of publicity stunts. He said AKEL was at the DISY leader’s disposal pointing out that Neophytou knew how to contact them for a meeting if he wanted to. Politis also reports that Kyprianou hinted at possible expediencies since this call to meet was made publicly before any prior consultations with the leftist party. The daily points out that AKEL is also in favour of granting political equality to the TCs, but some reservations are expressed regarding the decentralisation of powers and the timing of this idea being put on the table.

EDEK, in a written statement, expressed concerns regarding information of the UK’s involvement, pointing out that London should not have any role in the planning of the Cyprus problem procedures or solution framework. The party cites the UK’s “suspicious role” in the Cyprus problem so far, mainly the Annan plan, and called on the government to be particularly cautious. It also called on the government to insist on the involvement of all the permanent members of the Security Council to the process.

Cyprus Mail reported that Neophytou had an indirect dig at those critical of a British proposal aimed at bringing the two communities closer together ahead of the informal five-party conference.

Politis reported that Neophytou sent a message to the Presidential Palace, stressing that TCs must be given political equality, but also to those opposing the 5+1 summit.

According to Haravgi, Neophytou’s statements were yet another rant of gratuitous patriotism. In a comment elsewhere in the paper, the daily reports that Neophytou’s calls for giving TCs political equality came three years too late arguing that when AKEL was saying the same thing, it was accused of supporting Turkish positions.

Alithia reports that this was an attempt for a strong intervention by the DISY leader to clarify his and his party’s positions on the pressing matters of the Cyprus problem and to, directly and indirectly, address positions expressed abroad and at home, both within his own and other parties. Neophytou’s statement that he welcomes the interest of the international factor was a direct response to Moscow that rushed last Friday to express a negative opinion on the intervention by the British through its reference to the imposition of a solution by others, the daily reported.

Phileleftheros, citing the upcoming parliamentary elections and the reactions to the way the government has been handling a series of day-to-day issues, reports that it is obvious the DISY leader is trying to reverse this situation with initiatives on the Cyprus problem. It adds that DISY has to deal with the strong criticism against the government since it also negatively affects the party.

Neophytou (DISY)
Welcomes interest of international community & especially UNSC’s P5 in the Cyprob since without such interest it can never be resolved.
>> For GCs to be rid of Turkish occupation, troops, guarantee system & get back Morphou, Varosha & other areas, they need to give TCs political equality in decentralised federation.
>> Believes Anastasiades’ proposal for a decentralised federation is wise since giving too many powers to the federal government would lead to a dysfunctional state.
>> In favour of a speedy solution to the Cyprob & calls on Cypriots, for once, to say what they want rather than what they don’t want.
>> Calls on AKEL and other opposition parties to meet to discuss the way forward on Cyprob & to be rid of the Turkish occupation.

Kyprianou (AKEL)
AKEL has never refused to discuss Cyprob with anyone as long as they are sincere & are not driven by populism or as part of a publicity stunt.

>> Concerned by the UK’s reported involvement in the Cyprob process due to London’s suspicious role in the past.
>> Wants the government to insist on the involvement of all permanent members of the SC in the process.

Lute set to return in March ahead of informal UN summit

Alithia, Cyprus Mail, Phileleftheros, Politis
Negotiations Process


The dailies report that UNSG special envoy Jane Holl Lute is expected to return to the island, possibly in early March for meetings with the two leaders ahead of the 5+1 summit on the Cyprus problem set to take place in April.

No date has been announced on Lute’s arrival though it is expected to be in the second week of March, Phileleftheros reported. According to the daily, Lute’s visit is part of the UN’s plan to maintain the momentum since the five-party summit is two months away and they do not want the momentum created by the preparations to be lost by then.

The second aim of Lute’s visit is better preparation ahead of the summit with the UN official meeting with both leaders and their representatives to discuss a series of issues. During her last visit, Lute also had contacts at the negotiator level, and not just with the two leaders, the daily reports.

According to Politis, the date and place of the summit are expected to be announced within the week, while Phileleftheros, citing sources, reports that the delay in the announcement is due to practical issues concerning the health and safety of officials, and making sure all protocols are observed as regards the pandemic. The sources told the paper that though everything was agreed on a week ago, all these practical issues need to be addressed to make sure that no issues will arise when the summit is underway. The summit is expected to take place in Geneva, though there has been no official confirmation, the daily reported.

The papers also report that the team of constitutional law experts appointed by the president met again yesterday to discuss legal issues on the essence of the Cyprus problem and the informal five-party summit.

Alithia also reports that government spokesman Kyriacos Koushos told the Cyprus News Agency that the president has met with the negotiating team and intends to make use of all of its members, especially in the areas they have dealt with in the past.

EU FMs discuss Turkey in teleconference with new US counterpart

Alithia, Phileleftheros
EU Matters, Regional/International Affairs


Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Christodoulides and his EU counterparts had the opportunity to jointly talk for the first time with the new US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, during a teleconference on Monday, the dailies report.

The teleconference took place during the EU Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) with the EU FMs exchanging views with Blinken on international and regional issues, including Turkey.

Alithia reports that Christodoulides raised the issues of Euro-Turkish relations and Turkey’s actions in the international arena in general, stressing that there should be a substantial change in Ankara’s stance through concrete actions. He also said that Nicosia expected to see a positive and constructive attitude on the part of Turkey in the efforts to resolve the Cyprus issue.
Christodoulides also referred to Cyprus’ role in the Eastern Mediterranean region and stressed the importance of developing cooperation and synergies, and that the EU and the US must support the efforts of the countries in the region to create a narrative of peace, cooperation, stability and prosperity.
Blinken said, among other things, that the EU and the US must adopt a common approach to Turkey acknowledging that it an important partner while arguing that efforts should be made to keep the country focused on the West. He expressed the US’ readiness to strengthen their relations, provided that Turkey shows a change of attitude, with concrete actions and tangible results, the daily reports.
Phileleftheros, citing sources, reports that the Europeans reiterated once again their criticism of Ankara’s policy regarding the policy pursued mainly in relation to Cyprus and Greece, the daily reports.

GCs call on TCs to let Tylliria residents & enclaved to use crossings

Alithia, Haravgi
Internal Security


The government on Monday made new representations to the United Nations concerning the crossings of GCs from the Tylliria region through the Limnitis crossing point and the enclaved, according to the papers.

The dailies cite statements by Presidential Commissioner Photis Photiou to the Cyprus News Agency. Commenting on the decision by the TC side to allow TC workers to cross to the free areas with a negative COVID-19 test not older than seven days, Photiou said that the easing of restrictions for crossings announced last Friday in the north concerns TC workers who cross to the free areas and GC workers who cross to the Turkish-occupied areas. He said this basically concerned GC teachers who teach in schools in the occupied areas but does not affect other people.

Photiou said that for this reason, the government has made representations to the UN so that the TC side will let residents of the Tylliria region to use the Limnitis crossing point again. He added that the representations also concerned members of families of enclaved GCs who got stuck in the government-controlled areas because they were unable to return to their homes in the north without quarantine. He explained that this has impacted two to three families of enclaved GCs who have either contracted COVID-19 or were close contacts and who had crossed to the south for treatment.
Haravgi also reports that AKEL, condemning the unacceptable measures taken in the north as regards crossings, called on the government to intensify its efforts so that Tylliria residents are allowed to use the Limnitis crossing on the same terms as the TC workers who are allowed to cross between the two sides.

Greek publisher recalls children’s book with controversial text on Cyprus

Alithia, Haravgi, Phileleftheros, Politis
Regional/International Relations


A well-established Greek publishing house announced on Monday, following strong reactions, it was recalling one of its educational publications for children that says the northern part of Cyprus belongs to Turkey, the dailies report.

Psichogios Publications apologised for the blunder and said it was recalling the book that is also a game, to rectify the mistake. The announcement follows strong reactions in Cyprus and Greece after it was discovered that the book ‘Matheno kai exerevno: Evropi’ (I am learning and exploring: Europe), says in the section about Cyprus that the island’s northern part belongs to Turkey.

The publishing house apologised saying that it was clear that the occupied areas could not be translated as belonging to Turkey referring to a mistake by the translator and the editor of the book. It added that it has published many titles on Cyprus and understands how such a mistake could send the wrong message to children.

Cyprus’ ambassador to Greece Kyriacos Kenevezos, however, said on Monday that they had pointed out to the publishing house this mistake last July when they first spotted it. At the time, the publishing house had told him they would correct the reference, noting that it would write instead that Cyprus’ northern part ‘was under Turkish occupation’ but did not recall the book with the controversial reference until after the case stirred strong reactions in Cyprus but also in Greece, the dailies report.

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