GCC Press Review 28 Feb 2021

Front Page Headlines

Sunday Mail

A challenge to Covid decrees

Around 30 damaged businesses ready to take the plunge with a class-action suit according to lawyer

  • Closed crossings: One year ago they were shut for a week. It is still almost impossible to cross
  • Limassol spike might be due to new variant
  • Opinion: Cyprob – very British with a touch of Belgian


“Low expectations and concerns for the five-party”

How the public responds to the summit on the Cyprus Problem. 41% consider that nothing positive can come for the GC side from the five-party summit. 86% appear pessimistic regarding its possible result. GCs in their majority are concerned about a scenario of further concessions from the GC leadership.

  • Cyprus Problem: Averof’s jeremiads and the chosen politics
  • Turkey’s mandate of strength – Political equality: How the one person, one vote principle puts the brakes on partition.
  • Energy: Aphrodite at the mercy of Leviathan
  • Akkuyu: One earthquake, two explosions and three questions
  • Tourism: Foggy landscape for 2021
  • Marinos Sizopoulos (Opinion): The convening of the new five-party summit and the role of the British factor
  • Dr Antonis St. Stylianou (Opinion): The new geopolitical realities


Monk takes confessions and mainly harasses

“Cypriot by origin, he visits Cyprus often, has many and powerful connections in Limassol. He has followers… he goes to their houses and takes their confession.” “The first memories of sexual harassment are from when I was 12 years old, when he began taking my confession. He came to our house and would take my confession in my room.” “My brother has the same experience. He’s a little bit younger than I am. And another person, a third person, has the same experience with the same monk.”

  • What are the Turkish Cypriots asking for with sovereign equality?
  • Averof Neophytou: The last roll of the dice for the Cyprus Problem


Golgotha after Easter too

British warnings on Famagusta and Turkish parade in the Cypriot EEZ. Dilemmas and UNFICYP in the background.

  • They only want the EU for its euros: Cyprus Problem flying low, Erdogan has other things on his mind
  • New Biden policy: Clear message from the US towards Tayyip Erdogan
  • Hermes Airports to ‘Ph’: Flights to Cyprus double in March


Vaccination certificate a one-way street

Peter Piot, a special advisor to the president of the Commission, talks to ‘K’ on the next day of the pandemic. In the future they will be necessary for international trips.

  • Ten years later, gas did not solve the Cyprus Problem. Egypt and Israel are moving forward together, while Turkey lurks
  • USA: They’re asking for incentives to Turkey from Europe


“Anastasiades’ two-state solution opened Pandora’s box”

The former T/C leader, Mehmet Ali Talat, in an exclusive interview.

  • Five-party: Different positions on political equality by AKEL and DISY
  • Tayyip Erdogan in close embrace with nationalists


Averof Neophytou: Open-ended negotiations do not exist

The president of DISY describes what he will discuss with the AKEL SG. If the Cyprus Problem is not solved under Anastasiades, it will never be solved. “I am not defeatist, I am a pragmatist. How will I get territory back? Will I send my fleet or my planes?” “A solution with political equality will not change our daily lives.”

  • Analysis: Cyprus depends on political equality
  • Banking scandal with Erdogan and Trump
  • On Ebay: The sale of the tile from ancient Salamis prevented
  • Ayia Napa marina: New conflict between Interior Ministry-Audit Service

Main News

Neophytou: Sense of security only through political equality

Alithia, Politis, Phileleftheros
Negotiations Process


In an interview with Alithia, DISY leader Averof Neophytou said the Cyprus Problem requires a comprehensive solution that will guarantee a sense of security for both communities, and this can only be achieved through political equality.

Neophytou said the goal behind his upcoming meeting with AKEL leader Andros Kyprianou is to get the message across that there is willingness for a solution and that the Cyprus Problem is high on our agenda, since lately, he said, GC political forces appear to be too busy launching attacks against each other.

He said that Anastasiades’ proposal is clear: We want to be free of Turkish occupation armies and the Treaty of Guarantee, we want to take back our territory such as Morphou and Varosha, and to ensure that people can return to their areas of birth, as well as a fair arrangement for the property issue. But, Neophytou said, to be able to do this, we must give TCs political equality in the limited competences that will remain with the central government in the framework of Anastasiades’ proposal for a decentralised federation. He said only through decentralisation can a federation remain viable.

Asked if political equality might raise problems relating with the energy issue by allowing TCs to block the natural gas programme, Neophytou said solutions will be found, but added that this scenario is unlikely since both communities have an interest in the natural gas programme. Neophytou said that both communities are entitled to the island’s natural wealth, and called on TCs to realise that Turkey’s claims in the Cyprus EEZ harm not only GCs but also TCs.

Neophytou said that Anastasiades is the only one who can resolve the Cyprus Problem, mainly due to the fact that his term in office expires in 2023, and the Cyprus Problem cannot wait until then.

Politis reports that the substance behind the TC claim for sovereign equality was explained during their meetings with Lute. The paper reports that through the term sovereign equality, the TCs are attempting to add to their arsenal a procedural tool that will come in handy during negotiations and after the referendums and a potential solution.

With the term sovereign equality, Politis reports that the TCs can continue discussing a confederal solution. Citing a TC source, the paper writes that during the TC leadership’s meeting with Lute, the former unveiled a document from 1968 which supports the existence of two sovereign states under a model of cooperation. Since this position first emerged four years after the withdrawal of TCs from the Republic of Cyprus, the paper writes that the important point that is included in this position lies with the fact that at any point either side has the right to withdraw from the cooperation model.

Politis reports that the GC side is currently under threat of losing whatever ethical footing it has left as a victim of a barbaric invasion due to its failure to propose solutions and to clearly state what it is pursuing, as well as its failure to make use of the strategic weapon it secured through its accession to the EU.

Politis reports that the UN has in the past and continues to tackle certain TC demands with understanding but based on the mandate that the UNSG has had so far, the UN have drawn a red line. The UN cannot accept a state as independent if the state was established through the use of violence. But, the paper writes, the UN believes that the TC claim for two constituent states with substantive competences and a rotating presidency is within agreed-upon UN parameters and can be tabled at the five-party summit as their interpretation of sovereign equality.

Politis reports that in this framework, the TC side is expected to insist on the right to effective participation in the executive government, as well as on the right to secession through sovereign equality for three reasons. Firstly, so it can use it as a tool in negotiations in the event that the informal summit succeeds. If a new round of talks fails, the TC community will be once again left on the margins, the paper writes, citing a TC source. Secondly, it will be a way out in the event of a renewed ‘no’ to referendums, since if GCs reject a solution plan again, TCs must have the right to move forward with establishing their own state. Thirdly, so that if a federation does not work in the long-run, one of the two constituent states can withdraw while remaining a recognised state.

Politis reports that some claim that through sovereign equality, the TC side is aiming to hold the Republic hostage after a solution, as the TC parliament could block important decisions of the central government. But, the paper writes, the same could be the case with political equality which the GC side accepts. Politis reports that generally, all understand what the TC side is pursuing, and which could even lead to the establishment of two independent states within the EU. But Politis reports that what the TC side is requesting, that is, the right to join the EU but to have in hand an agreement that allows them to legally secede (something that could be used to threaten the central government), has never happened before, since the EU accepts nations as a whole, and upon withdrawal they must withdraw as a whole (as in the case of Scotland and Catalonia, for example). Essentially, the EU does not accept that federal states become independent while in the EU.

Politis writes that a solution within the EU would be beneficial for both sides, as it would mitigate interventions by third countries to a significant level, and would allow the people to cooperate in a democratic framework.

Alithia reports that the outcome of the new Cyprob efforts is contingent upon the issue of political equality, since even though it’s unclear whether an acceptance of political equality by the GC side will lead to an abandonment of claims for sovereign equality, what is certain is that if political equality is rejected, then Turkey will insist on sovereign equality and the process will be led to a (perhaps definitive) impasse with the GC side to be held responsible.

Alithia reports that this is the reasoning behind the DISY president Averof Neophytou’s campaign to persuade foreign diplomats that the GC side is determined to grant the TC side political equality and is prepared to negotiate the settlement of the Cyprus Problem within a reasonable horizon. But Neophytou’s initiative did not go down well with political parties, Alithia reports, since apart from AKEL’s silent approval, all other parties accused Neophytou of handing over the GC side’s negotiating chips before negotiations begin. But, the paper writes, TCs have a constitutional right to political equality.

Phileleftheros reports that the chasm between the positions of both sides, which are keeping the bar of expectations for the informal summit low, will begin to be bridged after the summit. The paper writes that it is unlikely that any of the sides will change stance or show their cards ahead of the summit.

Phileleftheros reports that the goal behind Lute’s visit to the island on March 7-9 is to keep momentum alive, so that there isn’t a big two-month gap between now and the informal summit. The paper writes that among the items on Lute’s discussion agenda will be the possibility of organising a meeting between the two leaders, something which sources told Phileleftheros Anastasiades will accept.

Phileleftheros reports that the delay in Tatar’s reaction to the UN announcement on the informal summit supports indications that Ankara doesn’t want Tatar to take a leading role in the Cyprus Problem. The paper reports that Turkey essentially wants the TC leader to publicly call for a settlement based on sovereign equality and to request equal treatment from the EU and other foreign players, but not to negotiate the Cyprob. Phileleftheros reports that this point is significant in terms of what is to come in Geneva and the process that is to follow. The paper suggests that Tatar’s inadequacy in negotiating on Cyprob may have also been the reason why Ankara has from the start been favouring that negotiations are conducted on the level of negotiators, as they believe that their fate will be in the better hands of the TC negotiator Ergun Olgun.

Phileleftheros reports that Cyprob is currently low on the Turkish President’s list of priorities, which at the moment is more focused on Turkey’s relations with the new US administration and the EU. The paper writes that though US President Joe Biden has yet to contact Tayyip Erdogan, the climate between the US and Turkey has begun to change. Phileleftheros reports that the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken indicated to his EU counterparts that the new US administration intends to woo Turkey with incentives to achieve the desired results. The paper writes that US-Turkish relations will be a factor that will also affect Cyprob developments over the coming months, but more so during the post-Geneva period.

Regarding EU-Turkish relations and the upcoming discussion on the matter during the European Council in March, Phileleftheros reports that Turkey’s increasing investment in its relations with the EU is solely due to economic interest.

Neophytou (DISY)

>> Cyprob requires comprehensive solution that will ensure functionality and restore sense of security among both communities, which can only be done through political equality.
>> GC side’s pursuits are clear: withdrawal of Turkish troops, revocation of Treaty of Guarantee, return of territories such as Morphou & Varosha, fair arrangement on property.
>> To achieve these goals, political equality must be granted to the TC side in the limited competences of the central government in the framework of Anastasiades’ proposal for a decentralised federation, which is the only viable solution.
>> Political equality will not pose problems on matters such as energy & natural gas, since TCs are also entitled to the island’s natural wealth.
>> Only Anastasiades can resolve the Cyprob as it must be solved before 2023. Negotiations cannot be endless.

Talat: Anastasiades opened Pandora’s box with 2-state solution proposal

Negotiations Process


In an interview with Haravgi, the former TC leader Mehmet Ali Talat expressed concern over the political climate created by the TC side’s demand for sovereign equality and two states, which goes against UN Security Council (UNSC) resolutions and the parameters that the two sides have so far agreed upon.

Talat said he expects the informal five-party summit will definitely collapse, due to the antagonistic approaches and the non-streamlined approach to UNSC resolutions by Turkey and the north. Talat said going into a new peace process will bring more destruction than not resuming negotiations at all.

Talat said that it was Nicos Anastasiades who opened Pandora’s box through his proposal for a two-state solution in order to get rid of pressure at Mont Pelerin. Talat said Anastasiades used the presidential elections of 2018 as a smokescreen and tried to block the insistence of the TC side and Turkey for a solution, creating chaos. From that point on, Talat said, Turkey and some TC circles began throwing around the idea of a two-state solution, an idea which ultimately stuck.

Talat also said that even if the GC side accepts political equality, it is unclear whether the majority of the TC community will be persuaded that the GC side is truly ready to accept political equality and the participation of TCs in decision-making mechanisms. Talat highlighted the need for both communities to apply pressure to their leaderships in order to solidify willingness for a solution and to change the plans and mentalities of both leaderships.

Regarding Anastasiades’ proposal for a decentralised federation, Talat said Anastasiades tabled the idea some 12 years ago, while Talat was holding the reins of the TC leadership, and involved limiting the competences of the central government to matters such as foreign policy, defence, and some economic sectors, such as the Central Bank. Talat said both he and the then-President Demetris Christofias had been thinking about a federal solution differently, envisioning more competences for the central government and a more unified state. Talat said that what is new, is that Anastasiades told the Turkish Foreign Minister Melvut Cavusoglu that he is ready to negotiate a two-state solution.

Talat said that if both communities want a two-state solution, the UN and the EU will accept this, but if one side is calling for a federal solution and the other is not, then problems arise. Talat expressed hope that no community as a whole wants a two-state solution.

Regarding Varosha, Talat said he predicts that the north will not move to reopen another section of the town. He referred to developments in Varosha as a type of political attack stemming from Turkey, which is attempting to test the reactions of the GC side and the international community. Talat said matters relating to Varosha require negotiations between the two sides and UN involvement, and for this reason a unilateral reopening is almost unfeasible, which is why Turkey is referring to the reopened section of Varosha as a ‘public space’, since UN resolutions clearly state that Varosha belongs to its lawful inhabitants.

Listing the reasons why he failed to secure a Cyprus settlement during his term as TC leader, Talat said that first, the necessary ‘rhythm’ was not found and second, time was against him, as he only had one and half years to negotiate with Christofias, with whom he achieved many convergences, since for the previous three and a half years he was dealing with Tassos Papadopoulos. He also said the political climate in the GC side was such that it was not ready to accept a BBF solution.


>> Opposes two-state solution, which goes against UN resolutions and the parameters that the two sides have so far agreed upon.
>> New peace process will cause more damage than good.
>> Anastasiades opened Pandora’s box with his proposal for two-state solution.
>> Anastasiades told Cavusoglu that he is ready to negotiate two-state solution.
>> Even if GC side accepts political equality, it is unclear whether the TC community will be persuaded that the GC side is truly willing to share power.
>> It is unlikely that the north will move to reopen more sections of Varosha.

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