GCC Press Review 23 July 2021

Front Page Headlines


Battle of words for Varosha

Intense consultations at the Security Council over the presidential statement. The second draft prepared by Britain is improved but it does not refer to Tayyip Erdogan or Ersin Tatar by name. Efforts for changes. Member states believe that the ‘expression of sorrow and concern’ should be fortified with condemnation of the Turkish action. The aim is to stress that Ankara’s and the Tatar regime’s move is a violation of resolutions 550 and 789 and not just an action that is not in line with the resolutions on Famagusta.

  • Antivaxxers: To trial five who were arrested (over Sigma attacks)
  • Vaccinations: The Indian variant brings the third dose


British lifebuoy to Turkey

A marathon of consultations and intense backstage at the UN over ‘the presidential statement’. Concerns by Guterres over the developments.

  • Invitation for Varosha also to Turks
  • Cyprus bowed to the hero lieutenant general: With honours, from one homeland to the other for Kalbourdjis (Greek missing army officer killed during 1974 whose remains were recently found by CMP)
  • Two siblings were killed in battles in 1964 and 1974
  • Criminal prosecution for the five but not for vandalisms – Reactions over Dr Soteriades’ (arrest) continue.


We have reached the fourth pandemic wave without an action plan yet

No prediction for the increased needs of the summer period and the rise in cases.

  • The international community condemns and calls on all sides to dialogue
  • Serious flight security risks from the drones base in Lefkoniko
  • Residents of the Akaki area call for removal of the razor wire
  • Meniko: Monument also for those who participated in the coup!

Cyprus Mail

Haggling over Varosha draft

Security Council engages in back and forth in effort to agree on a brief statement.

  • (Photo caption) The remains of a Greek artillery officer killed in the 1974 Turkish invasion were handed over for burial in his homeland on Thursday during a church service in Nicosia


Drafts of the presidential statement come and go

Cyprus problem: Tough battle at the Security Council – British obsession in favour of Turkey. The drafts Britain submitted, avoid reference to Erdogan and Tatar by name and the clear condemnation of their actions in Famagusta. Moscow: Unacceptable unilateral actions – Guarantees by the Security Council.

  • The Turks continue provocations – Tatar: We have opened the Famagusta beach for people’s baths.
  • Angela Merkel: I do not see Turkey’s EU accession but I wish good relations with Ankara
  • Rumours about Erdogan’s health condition are soaring – His eyelids are getting heavier.

Main News

Intense backstage at Security Council on Varosha issue statement

Alithia, Cyprus Mail, Haravgi, Phileleftheros, Politis
External Security, Territory, Property, Negotiations Process


The dailies report that intense consultations were underway among the UN Security Council members over the presidential statement on the announcement by the Turkish side a small area of Varosha would be opened for settlement, with penholder Britain favouring Turkey.

Alithia, Phileleftheros and Haravgi report that spokesman of the UN secretary-general Farhan Haq said Antonio Guterres was deeply concerned by the decision by the Turkish Cypriots and Turkey to open part of the fenced area of Varosha for settlement.

“The secretary-general has repeatedly called on all parties to refrain from unilateral actions that provoke tensions and may compromise the ongoing efforts to seek common ground between the parties towards a lasting settlement of the Cyprus issue,” Haq said.

He added that the UN position on Varosha remains unchanged and is guided by the relevant Security Council resolutions.

According to the dailies, there is intense backstage over the wording of the statement, the second draft of which, though improved, does not refer by name to Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan or TC leader Ersin Tatar. Consultations were also underway on the wording as regards the Turkish side’s moves and calls for a clear reference to ‘violation’ of Security Council resolutions on Famagusta. The statement is expected to be released today.

Politis, citing diplomatic sources, reports that Nicosia seeks in the statement reference to violation of resolutions 550 of 1984 and 789 of 1992 and not ‘not in accordance with’ them. It adds there have been intense consultations with several member states advocating the need to send a stronger message. The US is moving in the direction of reporting a violation of the resolutions, but until late yesterday afternoon Cyprus time, there was no information on whether there was an agreement.

Diplomatic sources said the climate is positive for meeting the expectations of Nicosia but there was also strong mobilisation by Ankara to make the presidential statement as mild as possible, Politis reported.

The second point is whether there will be references to Erdogan and Tatar by name. Britain had avoided in both drafts it prepared naming Erdogan and Tatar and referred only to ‘announcements’. In this case, too, Nicosia would like such a reference, but some member states consider that this is not necessary as it is actions that are being judged and not persons, Politis reported. It added that the permanent members will play an important role, especially US and Russia, affecting a number of non-permanent members. France, that chairs Security Council this month, is positive to referring to names, it added.

Phileleftheros reports that Nicosia found itself against games by penholder UK that is constantly throwing lifebuoys at Turkey in the Security Council, wanting to protect Ankara from references such as that recent Turkish actions violate UN resolutions.

After the first draft was deemed unacceptable, the UK prepared a second one, which though improved, it was deemed problematic, the daily reported. Citing the Cyprus News Agency, the daily reports that sources within the Security Council said China, India and Ireland broke the silent procedure after the second draft was tabled while it was not ruled out that more countries would do the same, Phileleftheros reported.

The second draft, according to the dailies, includes that the Security Council condemns the announcement in Cyprus on July 20, 2021 on the further reopening of a part of the fenced-off area of Varosha. It also calls for “the immediate reversal of this course of action and the reversal of all steps taken on Varosha since October 2020.” The Security Council also underscores the need to avoid any further unilateral actions that could raise tensions on the island and could harm prospects for a settlement. Reiterating the need for compliance with past resolutions on Varosha, the draft reiterated that the area should be transferred to UN administration. It also  reaffirms its commitment to an enduring, comprehensive and just settlement in accordance with the wishes of the Cypriot people, and based on a bicommunal, bizonal federation with political equality, as set out in relevant Security Council resolutions, and its support for the Secretary-General’s efforts, it adds, the dailies report.

Later on Friday morning, online news portals Cyprus Mail, Philenews, Politis and Dialogos (Haravgi), reported that a third draft was tabled by the UK which “condemns the announcement in Cyprus by Turkish and Turkish Cypriot leaders on 20 July 2021 on the further reopening of a part of the fenced-off area of Varosha.” The draft has been put under the silence procedure until 0900 local time (1600 Cyprus time).

The dailies also report, citing CNA, that developments on Varosha dominated the discussion at Wednesday’s debate at the Security Council after the SG’s Special Representative in Cyprus, Elisabeth Spehar briefed members.

Most members expressed support for a solution to the Cyprus issue based on UN resolutions, with Russia being very vocal.

Diplomatic sources said Spehar conveyed that there does not seem to be a way out in the negotiations but did not reveal what the Secretariat intends to do on the matter. A council member quoted Spehar as telling members that the SC resolutions need to be looked at from a wider perspective otherwise they are restrictive.

The majority of the members called for stronger wording in the draft presidential statement which was handed out by Britain. According to some members, Britain had tried to put pressure on the SC for the document to be approved by the end of Wednesday’s discussions without allowing time for deliberations, the dailies report.

Alithia reports that an intervention was made yesterday afternoon by spokesperson of the Russian foreign ministry, Maria Zakharova, who stated that any unilateral actions in the Cyprus issue were unacceptable and reiterated Moscow’s position that the existing archaic system of Cyprus’ external security guarantees must be replaced by guarantees from the Security Council.

Haravgi also reported that the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement that Moscow emphasises the need for strict implementation of the Security Council resolutions that provide for the establishment in Cyprus of a bi-zonal bi-communal federation through direct talks between the GC and TC sides. It added that it was necessary to avoid any steps that destabilise the situation in Cyprus and cause additional obstacles to finding a solution to the Cyprus problem within the framework of well-known principles of international law.

Haq (UNSG spokesperson)
Guterres is deeply concerned by TCs’ & Turkey’s decision to open part of fenced area of Varosha for settlement.
>> UNSG calls on all parties refrain from unilateral actions that provoke tensions & may compromise ongoing efforts for common ground to start Cyprob talks.
>> UN position on Varosha remains unchanged & is guided by relevant SC resolutions.

Zakharova (Russian MFA)
Any unilateral actions in Cyprob are unacceptable.
>> SC should act as guarantor of Cyprus’ external security rather than keeping the outdated system of guarantees now in place.
>> Moscow calls for strict implementation of SC resolutions for a BBF through direct talks between GCs & TCs.  

EU closely monitoring Varosha issue

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


Consultations on the issue of Varosha continue also at EU level.

Politis and Haravgi report that Nabila Massrali, European Commission and EU External Action Service spokesperson said on Thursday that the EU is guided by the relevant UN Security Council resolutions on Varosha, and insists that they must be fully respected, including Resolutions 550 (1984) and 789 (1992). Invited to comment on the latest developments, she also said that the at the level of the Council of the member states the Political and Security Committee held a meeting on Thursday morning on the issue of Varosha.

She recalled that EU High Representative Josep Borrell has said that the EU is monitoring the ongoing UN Security Council consultations on Cyprus and will decide on the next steps. The EU will wait for the UNSC position before any further action, she said.

Phileleftheros reports that Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides continues the marathon of consultations to address the new Turkish provocations. Yesterday afternoon he had a telephone conversation with Borrell. Borrell also spoke with Greek FM Nikos Dendias on the same matter. Christodoulides and Dendias also held a telephone conversation.

Politis and Haravgi report also on statements by German Chancellor Angela Merkel who referred to Erdogan’s statements on Varosha as ‘setbacks’ and ‘deviations’ from UN resolutions. However, in her view, “we should not be discouraged by such setbacks.” The German Chancellor said that as a principle, she does not like to talk about the failure of negotiations. She also noted that Greek-Turkish relations are becoming more difficult as the Turkish president, deviating from the UN resolutions, focuses exclusively on a two-state solution, something that is certainly not accepted by the GC side. She expressed optimism saying that efforts should be on directing the talks under the auspices of the UN with a lot of patience in the right direction. This was definitely a setback now, but we should not be discouraged by such setbacks, she said, according to the dailies.

Alithia reports that Merkel said during a news conference she did not believe Turkey would become an EU member, and still does not see it happening, but wanted close relations with Ankara. She also said Turkey was doing an outstanding job of taking care of Syrian refugees and that she would like this agreement on migrants and refugees, to continue, as it is the best for the people.

Massrali (EU)
EU is guided by relevant UNSC resolutions on Varosha which must be fully respected, including 550 & 789.
>> EU will decide on next steps after seeing UN position.

Merkel (Germany)
Erdogan’s statements that stray from UN resolutions a setback which will also affect GR-TR relations, but efforts should be on directing the talks under UN auspices, in the right direction.
>> Continues to believe Turkey will not enter EU but would like close relations with Ankara also given the migrant issue.

Wish by Erdogan for also TCs, Turks acquire Varosha properties

Territory, Property, Human Rights


The daily reports that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, on his way back to Turkey after visiting the north, has sent the message that TCs and Turkish nationals should also express interest in the properties within the area to be opened in Varosha.

He also left open the possibility of attempts to buy off these properties, the daily reported, adding that Turkey’s true intentions are gradually starting to show.

Citing TC daily Kibris, Phileleftheros reports that Erdogan, when asked about Varosha, said the ideal would be an appeal to TCs to purchase and acquire these properties. He also expressed the wish that people from Turkey could also acquire property there. The Turkish president reportedly said the south is not likely to claim much of these properties while arguing that it was important to solve this issue within the law without allowing for any problems.

Phileleftheros reports that this position by Erdogan confirms to a great extend the traps Ankara is trying to set with its president’s latest announcements. It adds that these concerns were expressed at the latest National Council where it has been said that Turkey’s goal is not return the properties to their rightful owners but, through the immovable properties commission (IPC), pass them under Turkish ownership.

Flight safety agency condemns Turkish drone base

External Security


The daily reported that the FSF-MED Flight Safety Foundation Mediterranean condemned Turkey’s plans to upgrade a drone base in the illegal airport of Lefkoniko and said will protest via letters to all international and European organisations asking for their intervention.

The flight safety agency said in a press release that Turkey’s intention violates ICAO and EASA rules and poses serious dangers to the safety of hundreds of thousands of flights within the Nicosia Flight Information Region (FIR). It said that this was yet another violation by Turkey, in addition to all other violations acknowledged by international and European organisations and federations that deal with air transport.

In a press release, the agency also refers to a world report by the International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations (IFALPA) on risks on flights due to Turkey’s refusal to contact the Nicosia Control Centre of the interventions of the illegal  Control Centre of Tymbou airport and the violations of the national airspace of Cyprus by the Turkish Air Force and Turkish drones.
The FSF-MED also said it was disappointed because, unlike other less important issues, the issue of Turkish illegal actions in Cyprus’ national airspace and FIR remains degraded without the necessary strategy. This, it added, is despite the fact that national airspace is a very important element of Cyprus’ national sovereignty and that serious risks to flight safety are created.

Akaki residents call for removal of razor wire

Internal Security, Migration & Citizenship


The daily reports that residents of the Akaki area call for removal of the razor wire erected by the government to prevent the arrivals of migrants from the north through the buffer zone.

AKEL leader Stephanos Stephanou met on Thursday with the Initiative Group against the razor wire in the Akaki area. The group told the AKEL leader that the installation of the razor wire created problems for farmers and they also raised accessibility and safety issues.

AKEL said in a statement that it shares their concerns and stands by their side, demanding the immediate removal of the razor wire.

Stephanou gave reassurances that the party would raise the issue in parliament and that the competent government agencies and those affected would be invited to discuss the problems faced, the paper reported.

Reactions as Meniko coup victims monument includes coupist

Governance & Power Sharing


According to the paper, the decision by the Meniko community council to include in a monument for the locals who died or went missing during the 1974 coup a person who participated in it, stirred strong reactions in the village.

The Meniko AKEL committee and the village’s leftist associations protested the move. They said this was contributing to attempts by the far-right to distort modern Cypriot history in a bid to absolve those at fault of treason and crimes. The groups said in a letter to the community council that it is no excuse that those aiding and abetting were acting on orders citing the case of commando Sotiris Adamou Constantinou, who was stabbed in the back and killed by coupist officers for refusing to follow orders.

The daily also reports that the community council do not seem to have changed their minds about this decision as the inauguration of the monument will take place soon.

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