GCC Press Review 23 Apr 2021

Front Page Headlines


We are rolling down the shutters again

Towards stricter measures for at least 15 days to save summer. The country’s epidemiological picture does not allow not going on a lockdown the health minister told cabinet and suggested at least a two-week strict lockdown so that more people can get vaccinated.

  • Cyprus problem: Final touches to the preparations for Geneva
  • Polls: DISY continues to come first, battle among the ‘small ones’
  • Parliament postponed its dissolution – Arguments and last-minute decisions.


No foreclosures until July

This covers primary homes up to €500,000, businesses up to €2m, and agricultural plots up to €250,000. Heavy accusations against parliament by (EDEK leader) Sizopoulos due to the postponement of the amendment of the law on auctions.

  • Guterres wants them to be creative in Geneva
  • Attack on AKEL over a theatre play
  • She reported a candidate MP for rape – She announced it herself on social media. A new case at the police special unit.
  • We might avoid the lockdown, we will spend Easter with stricter measures


Guarantees to the tune of €1 bn with clauses benefitting small and medium-size businesses and workers

Opposition reports DISY for a ‘yellow’ propaganda advertisement.

  • Cyprus problem: Guterres expects from the two parties creative proposals
  • Day of remembrance and honour for the 1974 war prisoners – They are still fighting for their rights.
  • Bicommunal mobilisation tomorrow at the Eleftheria Square at 5.30 pm

Cyprus Mail

Barbs fly but loans get nod

Opposition tinkering could yet make Covid relief measure unworkable.


DISY remains first party, ahead of AKEL by at least 2%

Elections: What did three polls show last night. The two major parties lose votes in relation to the 2016 elections. DIKO stabilises, the Greens go up as does ELAM. Battle for fourth place with EDEK. OMEGA: DISY 16-17 seats, AKEL 14-15, DIKO 8-9, Greens 4.

  • Anastasiades’ strategy for the five-party summit today at the National Council
  • Andriana Shelli: Public accusation for rape with a candidate MP as the alleged perpetrator
  • Double blow for Turkey by the US: The Armenian Genocide is being recognised, Turkey is excluded from the F-35 programmes

Main News

UN calls on leaders exhibit creativity at Geneva summit

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


The UN Secretary-General called on the two leaders to go to the informal 5+1 summit with creativity while it is official the EU will not be at the summit, the dailies report.

The dailies cite statements by spokesperson for the UNSG Stéphane Dujarric during a press briefing, that Antonio Guterres will go to Geneva for the informal 5 + 1 meeting on the Cyprus issue with the aim to determine whether common ground exists for the parties to negotiate a lasting solution.

“We hope that the parties come with creativity to this very informal meeting,” he said.

The dailies also report that EU spokesperson Peter Stano confirmed the EU will not be represented at the summit, but that sources said a senior official of the European External Action Service (EEAS) will be present on behalf of the EU in Geneva.

Replying to a question by the Cyprus News Agency, Stano said on Thursday: “When it comes to the technical issue of the invitation at this stage so far, I cannot confirm that we have received an invitation.” He added that the EU looks forward to the resumption of negotiations, under the auspices of the UN, and it remains ready to play an active role in supporting the negotiations, including by appointing a representative to the UN good offices missions. “This position is long-standing, and we are ready to do whatever we can,” Stano said.

The dailies report that Angelina Eichhorst, Managing Director for Western Europe, Western Balkans, Turkey, and United Kingdom at the EEAS will be present on behalf of the EU in Geneva, during the informal summit next week. Eichhorst will not be part of the informal conference and will not attend any meeting procedures, including the opening reception and the dinner during the conference’s second day. She will, however, have bilateral meetings with the parties involved, the dailies report, citing CNA.

Alithia reports that while the UN officially announced the convening of the informal summit next week it seems that it is final that a European official, not even a low-ranking one, will not be present at the deliberations of the five-party conference in Geneva, since the Turkish insistence did not allow the UN Secretary-General to invite the EU.

The daily also reports that President Nicos Anastasiades will brief today the National Council about the strategy he will follow at the summit and the scenarios his negotiating team has worked on. Yesterday, Anastasiades had a new meeting with the team of negotiators, the paper reported.

Phileleftheros reports that the UN’s approach allows stakeholders to present during their meetings with the Secretary-General ideas that they believe will help to resolve the deadlock. The daily notes that some of these ideas, at least to date, do not seem to be within the scope of UN resolutions. The UN, despite the current picture, does not rush to foretell a negative result. They are pushing for an agreement on a joint statement by the two leaders and it is something that the Secretary-General will discuss with them. The content of the statement will be discussed in Geneva, the daily reports.

It also cites people with knowledge on the Cyprus issue who stress that in order for this meeting to achieve its goal, all parties must show mutual understanding and flexibility. They cite an earlier quote from Antonio Guterres when this new course began after the Crans-Montana impasse that “this time must be different,” Phileleftheros reports.

Politis reports that preparations ahead of the Geneva summit are on their final stretch. Anastasiades will brief this morning the National Council on the latest developments on the Cyprus issue, amidst strong reactions. At the same time, the TC press refers to an informal four-party summit instead of a five-party one, since many believe TC leader Ersin Tatar is blindly following Ankara’s orders.

Anastasiades is not expected to discuss in detail crucial issues but wants to hear the positions of the party leaders, who will accompany him in Geneva, Politis reports.

Alithia and Cyprus Mail also report that Tatar said he would meet with the Turkish president on Monday before heading to Geneva while he stated that with Turkey on their side, he was going to the summit with peace of mind. He reiterated that a two-state solution was the way forward.

Alithia reports that Tatar continues his provocative statements.

Dujarric (UNSG)
Guterres will go to Geneva meeting to determine whether common ground exists for the parties to negotiate a lasting solution.
>> UN hopes the parties will go to very informal summit with creativity.

Stano (EU)
EU was not invited to informal five-party summit but remains ready to play an active role in supporting the negotiations, including by appointing a representative to the UN Good Offices mission.

Advise by main political parties ahead of Geneva summit

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


The dailies report on statements and actions by main political parties, DISY, AKEL but also CTP in the north, just a few days prior to the Geneva summit, in a bid to boost positive prospects.

Politis reports that ruling DISY believes that this initiative by Antonio Guterres, on convening the five-party summit, was a window of opportunity which must be utilised without overlooking challenges arising from Ankara’s stance. AKEL on the other hand is calling on President Nicos Anastasiades to realise that he must assume some initiatives so that the effort in Geneva does not end in an impasse.

Haravgi quotes AKEL leader Andros Kyprianou saying that either Anastasiades did not bother to study his party’s proposal on the Cyprus problem, or his advisors have misinformed him.

Speaking to state broadcaster CyBC TV on Thursday, Kyprianou said in its proposal, AKEL suggests that Anastasiades does not question the convergences on political equality and natural wealth. Kyprianou argued that, in order to force the Turkish side review its unacceptable positions “we should deprive it of any excuses” such as that the GC side refuses to share power and natural wealth. He called on Anastasiades to express willingness to discuss possible cooperation on the issue of natural gas if there is a proper solution to the Cyprus problem. He also said that it was important, in the case of an impasse to be clearly seen by the international community that it was Turkey’s fault so that Ankara will not be able to proceed with more fait accompli in Varosha and new aggressive moves in the Cypriot exclusive economic zone (EEZ), Haravgi reports.

Cyprus Mail reports that DISY leader Averof Neophytou, said that he did not agree with the position voiced by many on the GC side to create a sense of reassurance, that, it was important Turkey be blamed in case of an impasse due to its insistence on a two-state solution, which is outside the agreed solution framework.

Speaking to CyBC radio, Neophytou said an impasse “suits Turkey because it can proceed with its own plans, the annexation of the occupied areas, because it will never achieve a two-state solution, and the greying of the whole of the EEZ of Cyprus.” He said that 60 per cent of beaches [coastline] are in the north and Turkey will claim this to allegedly ensure the TCs’ interests, while it will claim 30 per cent of the remaining 40 per cent as its own because it deems the southwest of the island’s EEZ as its own.

He also said one should not rule out that Turkey, to avoid being blamed for the impasse, as a swaying tactic, might state that if indeed the GCs believe that the only solution model is the bizonal bicommunal federation, it agrees to continue discussing that. Neophytou also stressed that it was important that the UNSG himself was convinced there was basis to start a dialogue which will be concluded within a foreseeable horizon.  “We cannot start a new, open-ended process,” he said, referring to reactions by parties on the Greek Cypriot side that state they do not want any timeframes, the daily reports. He also assessed that most probably, a formula will be found at the summit for an announcement to keep the process alive, Cyprus Mail reports.

Phileleftheros, Haravgi, Politis and Alithia also report that the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) sent Guterres a letter through his special representative in Cyprus Elizabeth Spehar, on its positions on the Cyprus problem ahead of the Geneva summit. In the letter, CTP leader Tufan Erhurman points out, among other things, that the Cyprus problem has paved the way for the TCs’ exclusion from the Republic of Cyprus which led to countless negative reactions, due to the isolation from the international community and the rule of law. Erhurman also notes that after the EU acquis was suspended in the north, the TCs have been deprived of the potential benefits of a full member state, Phileleftheros reports. Alithia reported that Erhurman says he was in favour of political equality with rotating presidency and positive vote in all federal agencies. Haravgi points out that Erhurman states that negotiations so far have matured enough to finalise a strategic political agreement.

Alithia reports that the European People’s Party (EPP) issued a stern message to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after Neophytou’s meeting in Brussels this week with head of the EEP at the European Parliament, Manfred Weber and the Secretary-General, Antonio Lôpez Istûriz. According to the paper, the EPP notes, among other things, the human rights violations in Turkey and threats against Greece and Cyprus, noting that there must be greater integration in Europe to show that they are united in their approach to the region and especially to Turkey. The party also said that the Erdogan regime has moved away from Europe, does not share EU values, violates the freedom of the people and undermines democracy, the daily reports.

Kyprianou (AKEL)
It seems Anastasiades either ignored AKEL’s suggestion not question the convergences on political equality & natural wealth or has been ill-advised.
>> Anastasiades must state willingness to discuss natural gas cooperation after proper Cyprob solution, to force the Turkish side review its unacceptable positions.
>> GC side must act in such a way at the Geneva summit, that in the case of impasse, it will be clear to international community that it was Turkey’s fault. That way, Ankara will not be able to proceed with more fait accompli in Varosha & new aggressive moves in Cyprus’ EEZ.

Neophytou (DISY)
Does not agree with position that it’s important Turkey be blamed for impasse because it creates a false sense of security, because, on the contrary, an impasse suits Turkey so that it can annex north & claim most of Cyprus’ EEZ.
>> Warns that Turkey, to avoid being blamed for impasse, might state it will discuss a BBF solution if GCs insist so GC side must be prepared to do that, within a set timeframe.
>> Not optimistic start of substantive talks will be announced at Geneva summit, but believes UN will strive keep process alive.

Erhurman (CTP)
Believes negotiations matured enough to finalise a strategic political agreement on Cyprob.
>> In favour of political equality with rotating presidency & positive vote in all federal agencies.
>> Cyprob excluded & isolated TCs from international community & rule of law while RoC’s EU membership deprived them of potential benefits of a full member state.

EOKA fighters accuse AKEL of distorting history via theatre play

Governance & Power Sharing, Human Rights


The daily reports that the 1955-’59 EOKA fighters association accuses AKEL of being behind a theatre play on the murders of leftists, which, they said, was an attempt to distort history to justify its stance during the EOKA struggle.

The play in question, ‘1958’ was written by Michalis Papadopoulos and is being staged by Antilogos Theatre. The theatre group had announced it aims at encouraging a public dialogue on unknown to most, aspects of Cyprus’ history. It said the play deals with political assassinations and extremism in the two communities. Christina Christofia, (daughter of the late Demetris Christofias) was cast for the play, the daily reports. It adds that the association pointed out that Christofias, during his term as president had restored the memory of some people who were killed by EOKA as traitors which had stirred strong reaction by the EOKA fighters association at the time.

The EOKA association said in a statement, signed by the group’s chairman, Thasos Sophocleous, that AKEL, continuing its treacherous course and hatred that began in 1955 “against our liberation struggle and the leader of EOKA Digenis” it now proceeded to create a play thinking that this way it would atone for its criminal past.

The association said that AKEL, is attempting through the play to justify the treacherous behaviour of some of its members and especially of the leadership. The association said that the aim is on the one hand to shake off their betrayal and the responsibility borne by the AKEL leaders during the EOKA struggle which created vigilance teams to monitor the EOKA fighters and to give information to the British, and on the other hand, they seek to expel their guilt from the many betrayals they committed against the people and the homeland.

The daily also reports that the association said that AKEL had submitted a list with 24 names of AKEL members claiming they were executed by EOKA as traitors because they were leftists. Of these, the association said, only four were executed as traitors, another four were shot in their insistence to remove masks worn by EOKA fighters to conceal their identity and the rest were victims of the circumstances: some were crime victims, others were embroiled in vendettas and others were victims of illegitimate romances. Some were killed after the EOKA struggle, in 1961-’62, the association said.

The association also asked AKEL if it was aware that many of its members were also EOKA members or that AKEL members at the time were hosting wanted EOKA fighters. “Do they know that one of our greatest heroes, whom we honour, was an AKEL member?” they asked.

Phileleftheros reports that it was informed that AKEL had no involvement in the play.

Ruling DISY set to lead parliament elections, polls show

Alithia, Cyprus Mail online, Phileleftheros, Politis
Governance & Power Sharing, Negotiations Process


The dailies cite the findings of three polls on the parliamentary elections aired by CyBC, Sigma and Omega television stations.

According to the papers, ruling DISY continues to appear first in people’s preferences, followed by AKEL, and DIKO, while there will be a battle for the fourth place.

CyBC’s poll, carried out by IMR/University of Nicosia, shows that DISY is expected to get 20% of votes, AKEL 18%, DIKO 10%, EDEK-Citizens Alliance 5%, Greens 5%, ELAM 4,5%, Hunters-Independents 4%, DIPA 3%, Solidarity Movement 1%.

According to the poll by Omega, carried out by Cypronetwork, DISY is slated to get 18,7%, AKEL 16,4%, DIKO 10,1%, EDEK 4,9%, Solidarity 2,1%, Greens 5,5%, ELAM 4,5%, Independents-Hunters 4,7%, DIPA 1,8%, Famagusta for Cyprus 0,7%, Animal Party 1,1%.

Sigma’s poll shows DISY getting 19%, AKEL 17,3%, DIKO 9,6%, EDEK 3,7%, ELAM 4,7%, DIPA 2,4%, Greens 4,4%, Solidarity 1,2%, Independents-Hunters 3,4%, Animal Party 1,2%, Famagusta for Cyprus 1,1 %. The poll was carried out by LS Prime Market Research Consulting Ltd.

Phileleftheros notes that the polls refer to the cooperation between the Hunters Party and the Independents Movement that had initially announced they would run under a joint ticket, but recently said they are running separately.

Cyprus Mail online gives a more detailed report of the Sigma poll that also included questions on the Cyprus problem. The gallup was conducted in mid-April. It polled 1,050 respondents, all registered voters, chosen at random.

Regarding the five-party conference on Cyprus, and asked about what they thought the outcome will be, 14% said it will “lay the foundations for a solution”, 44% said “the problem will worsen”; 32% that the situation will not change; 10 % did not respond.

On the return of Famagusta and Morphou as a prerequisite for a settlement, 64% said this was “a line in the sand,” 29 % said it was not.

Regarding trust in institutions that are engaged or involved with a potential Cyprus solution, ranked from ‘zero trust’ to ‘full trust’ (a score of 10), the United Nations got a score of 3.65; the European Union 4.36; Russia 3.77; Greece as a guarantor 6; and Britain as a guarantor 2.42.

H4C welcomes UN announcement on 5+1 Geneva summit

Human Rights


The daily reports that Home for Cooperation said in a statement it welcomes the news about the informal meeting of the two community leaders, guarantor powers UK, Greece and Turkey, and the UN Secretary-General, convening between April 27 and 29 in Geneva.

 At the same time, it expressed hope that the informal meeting will set the tone for resuming the negotiations on the framework agreed by the leaders of the Greek-Cypriot and the Turkish-Cypriot communities in 2014. It added that this framework provides that the eventual settlement of the Cyprus issue, will be based on a bi-communal, bi-zonal federation with political equality, as set out in the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions and the High-Level Agreements.

It also said that April 23, 2003, marks a significant turning point in the history of Cyprus negotiations and of the intercommunal relations. “On this date, the first crossing point at the Ledra Palace area was opened providing access to the life across the divide; to childhood memories of today’s elderly and to opportunities for a new generation to learn how to live together once again,” it said, the daily reports.

1974 war prisoners call for proper state support

Alithia, Haravgi, Phileleftheros
Human Rights


The association of 1974 war prisoners marks April 23, which was designated by parliament as a day of remembrance and honour of the 1974 war prisoners, the papers reported.

The head of the association, Vasos Christou, said that 47 years after the invasion, they are still fighting for their rights and proper state support.

In his message to mark the day, Christou called again on the government to support those war prisoners still alive. He said that people who had been captured by the Turkish troops during the invasion in 1974 and who now experience many problems, physical and psychological, due to the torture and ill-treatment while in the Turkish prisons, have not received state support. He added that the state has not alleviated the problems of the few who resisted and fought for Cyprus.

Christou also referred to cold-blooded murders of war prisoners, who have not been recognised by the Cypriot state.

He said that of the 2,467 war prisoners, only 730 are alive today. Christou said the state ought to treat them as people with psychological and health issues caused from their captivity.

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