GCC Press Review 19 Oct 2021

Front Page Headlines


91.000 people owe €284 m. The (special audit) report has ‘photographed’ only Pitsillides.

A special report of the Audit Office for uncollected debts ‘photographs’ only former MEP Andreas Pitsillides. He owed €6,206 for 8 warrants for the period 2015-2020. The former MEP in his statements to Politis acknowledges his obligation and states that he launched a payment process. At least 108 warrants corresponding to €249,207 are related to politically exposed persons, close relatives or companies directly related to them. None of them is photographed. In another case, the owner of 11 properties and 8 vehicles owes €131,306 in warrants.

  • EU partners: They are concerned but… they are not in a hurry


Document for decisions

The EU foreign ministers have decided to prepare a list with measures against Turkey. Letter by Ertugruloglu to European ministers.

  • There is a need for new defence equipment
  • Testimony for GCs buried in Varosha
  • The airplane we have been holding since 2019 was discharged – The FBI experts investigating possible transfer of arms to Libya have left. It belongs to a US company that provides military services.
  • They are coming to work and they file for political asylum – Egyptian workers have become a headache for the red soil villages (Famagusta area).
  • The Turks executed him in 1964, the state executes him in 2021 – Appeal to the compensation for a missing person since 1964.


The government is turning a blind eye to the soaring prices

AKEL: It is the government’s responsibility to intervene in the crisis on grains and high prices.

  • European Service: It will prepare a document with choices of reaction on Varosha and EEZ
  • Cyprus problem: A Turkish naval base at Cape Apostolos Andreas
  • Two GCs are buried across from the Anorthosis Club in Varosha
  • Contract soldiers are facing many serious problems while the regulations are still missing

Cyprus Mail

Possible price caps on essential items

Finance minister presents state budget with warning over price hike help.

  • EU seeking list of options on action to take over Turkey


Ranking first in growth

Finance minister: The Cypriot economy’s growth is the highest in the Eurozone.

  • EU FMs: The ‘27’ are preparing a list of measures against Turkey
  • Cyprus is way below the EU poverty limit – 17.6% of Cyprus’ population was at risk of poverty and social exclusion in 2020 while the EU average was at 21.9%. A difficult winter is coming due to the rise in petrol prices.
  • Al Jazeera video: a year later, the (police) investigations are coming to an end

Main News

EU FMs call for options on measures for Turkey’s moves in Varosha

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


The EU foreign ministers have agreed on the preparation of an options paper on possible ways of reactions to Turkey’s actions in Varosha, the dailies report on Tuesday.

According to the papers, EU High Representative Josep Borrell said after the Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) held on Monday in Luxembourg that the foreign ministers have decided to ask for the drafting of an options paper by the European External Action Service (EEAS), which will outline possible ways for the EU to respond to the fact that Turkey has not reversed any of its actions regarding Varosha.

He recalled that in the summer, in a statement on behalf of the member states, he had announced that if Turkey’s negative behaviour continued, the Council would request that the EEAS prepare an options paper.
Borrell explained that this options paper will provide an analysis of the situation and provide options for several types of measures that can be taken as a response to Turkey’s actions. This is the first step towards decisions being taken in this area, he added.
The High Representative also said that the ministers talked about the unacceptable harassment of ships in the exclusive economic zones (EEZs) of EU member states, and added that all member states expressed their solidarity with Greece and Cyprus.  
He added that he believes the only answer to these tensions is a sustainable solution of the Cyprus problem in accordance with Security Council resolutions and EU principles.

Cyprus Mail cites reports by state broadcaster CyBC that cited sources as saying that the document is being drawn up and EU foreign ministers will have the list of options made available to them at the next FAC meeting in November.

Haravgi, citing the Cyprus News Agency that cites a diplomatic source, reports that during the discussion there were statements of support by Spain, Estonia, Belgium, Austria, Greece, Latvia, Ireland, France, Luxembourg and Slovenia.  During his statement, Foreign Minister Nicos Christodoulides reportedly referred to the harassment of Nautical Geo by Turkish ships and noted that the ship was conducting research regarding an EU supported project, and added that by their next meeting the Foreign Ministers should have before them specific options on how to react.

Phileleftheros, citing information, reports that it was Borrell who raised first the issue of Turkey’s conduct in the Eastern Mediterranean at the FAC, recalling that the foreign ministers had on July 27 made a clear statement and it was very clear what they were asking from Turkey which was a reversal of actions. Christodoulides told his counterparts that all other choices had been tried and tested but that Turkey not only did not realise this but interpreted it as the bloc’s weakness, the daily reports citing sources.

The daily also reports that TC ‘foreign minister’ Tahsin Ertugrologlu sent last week a letter to various EU foreign ministers in a bid to prevent an options document. In his letter, a copy of which was obtained by Phileleftheros, Ertugruloglu speaks of a ‘GC misinformation campaign’.

The letter said the fenced area of ​​Varosha falls within the ‘Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus’ that,  like any other ‘state’ exercises its exclusive sovereignty over its territory. It further states that the ‘government’ has decided to lift the military zone status in a pilot area corresponding to 3.4 % of the Varosha fenced area, to enable the Immovable Property Commission (IPC) to decide on applications for reparation, compensation and / or exchange, something that had not previously been possible.

Ertugruloglu also cites reports in the GC press and argues that the majority of GC property owners welcomed the decision on the fenced area and called for further positive steps in that direction. He accused the Cypriot government that through its reactions it, in a way, prevents the GCs from filing to the IPC. He also claims that the decisions taken by the occupying regime do not contradict the UN resolutions, stating that the fact that they were taken at a time when there were no effective domestic remedies should be taken into account.

He also expresses frustration that the EU tends to align itself with the deliberately falsified GC allegations and accuses the GC side of being responsible for the ongoing impasse in the Cyprus issue.

Concluding, Ertugruloglu expressed the hope that what he mentions will be taken into account during the discussion of the issue of Varosha, Phileleftheros reports.

Haravgi points out that the EU decision on possible measures against Turkey is being referred from one Council to another.

Politis reports that though Cyprus’ EU partners note the Turkish provocations in Famagusta and the EEZ they continue to take their time. The only thing they decided on yesterday was the preparation of a document of choices on how the EU could react should Turkey continues to not comply on the issue of Varosha. All eyes are now on the European Council on Thursday and Friday when the president will inform the EU leaders on the Turkish actions, the results of the tripartite meeting in New York and Nicosia’s position on the appointment of a special envoy.

According to Alithia Cyprus found strong support among the EU’s foreign ministers yesterday during the briefing by Christodoulides and Borrell on Turkey’s new provocations in Famagusta and the EEZ and its refusal to enter into talks on the agreed basis for a solution to the Cyprus problem.

 Anastasiades discusses Cyprob with Lillie, Sharma

Haravgi, Phileleftheros, Politis
Negotiations Process


The dailies report that President Nicos Anastasiades on Monday held a meeting with UK High Commissioner Stephen Lillie and Director for Cyprus Affairs at the UK Foreign Office Ajay Sharma.

According to government spokesman Marios Pelekanos, the meeting took place at the Presidential Palace following a request by Lillie for a briefing.

During the meeting, Anastasiades briefed the two officials on his meeting in New York last month with TC leader Ersin Tatar and the UN secretary-general, “during which the secretary-general announced to the two leaders his intention to proceed with the appointment of a special envoy,” Pelekanos said.

“They also discussed the current situation on the Cyprus issue and Turkey’s unacceptable actions and exchanged views on what the next steps could be that would allow, the soonest possible, conditions for the resumption of a truly creative dialogue that would lead to a solution to the Cyprus problem, based on Security Council resolutions and within the UN framework,” Pelekanos said.

Phileleftheros reports that Lillie, escorted by the man who pulls the strings on the Cyprus problem at the Foreign Office, Sharma, had a meeting with the president. The two diplomats later met with DISY leader Averof Neophytou.

Politis reports Sharma is in Cyprus for a new round of consultations with both sides on the resumption of the talks and the British ideas.

Haravgi, citing sources reports that the British interest is on how the talks can restart while it seems the UK supports the appointment of a special envoy by the UN. The two British diplomats are expected to also hold contacts in the TC side, the daily reports.

Minister calls for more checks on fuel from north

CBMs, Economy


The daily reports that Finance Minister Constantinos Petrides told the House finance committee on Monday that checks by Customs at the crossings and along the Green Line ought to intensify to prevent smuggling of petrol from the north.

During discussion on fuel prices, the minister, replying to a question, said that checks by Customs at crossings and the Green Line should be increased, citing complaints he heard that tankers travel from the free areas to the occupied areas to fill their tanks.

Petrides said that in the coming days he will contact the customs and police on this matter.

MPs had called on the government to reduce the excise tax and VAT on fuel and electricity. Petrides said that in case of reduction of excise tax or VAT, public finances will be at risk citing the large fiscal gap caused by state support of businesses and workers during the pandemic.

New defence equipment for NG necessary, minister says

Cyprus Mail, Phileleftheros
Internal Security, Regional/International Relations


Defence Minister Charalambos Petrides told MPs the National Guard needed new defence equipment citing the ongoing Turkish intransigence and increasingly aggressive stance, the dailies report.

He was presenting his ministry’s budget for 2022 to the House finance committee. He said next year’s budget was €470m, which is a slight decrease of €12.3m from the previous year. Petrides noted however that there was a supplementary budget for defence which amounted to €44.7m which he expects to continue into 2022.

He said that Turkey’s continuing intransigence combined with its growing aggression create the need to strengthen Cyprus’ defence and security and for new equipment.

Referring to his ministry’s goals, he noted the actions and plans for the strengthening of the operational capacity of the National Guard by carrying out a study and preparing an armament programme with long-term goals, the continuous joint training of officers and soldiers with other armed forces, the upgrading of the infrastructure and the substantial improvement of the reservist service.

Petrides also said that one of the measures to be looked at is simplifying and updating the legislative framework to prevent young men dodging conscription. He did note however that the annual rate of those not fulfilling their army duties had fallen from 7.5 per cent to 2.7 per cent since national service was reduced to 14 months. Petrides also stated that the annual intake for the army has fallen primarily to due Cyprus decreasing birth rate which has left the forces with 950 fewer conscripts per year.

Petrides also said that deepening ties with other nations is a top priority for the National Guard citing its cooperation with Egypt, the UAE, Jordan, Israel, Lebanon, Britain and others. He highlighted the importance of closer ties with the US and pushing for greater EU strategic autonomy.

Reports for burial of two GCs across from Anorthosis Club in Varosha

Alithia, Haravgi, Phileleftheros


The dailies report on an article by Sevgul Uludag, published in Yeniduzen, that two GC soldiers killed during the 1974 invasion were buried across from the Anorthosis Club in the fenced area of Varosha.

According to the report, Uludag was told by a person who was told the story by a relative of his who had witnessed this and who died a decade ago, that two GC missing soldiers were buried under a tree in the yard of a house across from the Anorthosis Club in Varosha.

The man told Uludag that now that the fenced area of Varosha was opened perhaps this information would help the Committee on Missing Persons investigate the possible burial site.

He told her that his relative who had witnessed what had happened said when the Turkish soldiers entered Varosha on August 16, 1974, there were only two or three GC soldiers left behind. These GC soldiers fired at the Turkish soldiers who reciprocated the fire, killing one of them.

The other one was heavily injured and could not move his legs, the man said, and had asked his relative, whom he knew, to shoot him because he knew he could never walk again. In the end he was killed by Turkish soldiers. They were both buried across from the Anorthosis Club, he told Uludag, the dailies reported.

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