GCC Press Review 21 Apr 2019

Front Page Headlines

Sunday Mail

Second body in mine shaft

Remains of woman pulled from same spot in Mitsero as murder victim, search goes on for girl, 6

  • Huge TC interest in Euro-elections


Passports under the microscope

Exclusive interview in Simerini with the US Assistant Secretary of the Treasury. After money laundering, naturalisations also under the microscope of the US authorities. Marshall Billingslea’s reply to Moscow.

  • UN: Circumvents the Terms of Reference
  • Strategy: Ankara sends the S-400 ‘in exile’
  • Predictably unpredictable (editorial on the unpredictability of Turkey)
  • Andreas Theophanous: 15 years after the (Annan) referendum (opinion piece)
  • Nicos Katsourides: Irreparable damage from the lack of unity (opinion piece)
  • Christodoulos K. Yiallourides: The strength of symbols for national unity (opinion piece)


Second body causes horror

The operation to locate the body of six-year-old Sierra will resume today. Cypriot public opinion is shocked by the discovery yesterday of a second body of a naked woman. Police believe the perpetrator is the same person who killed the 38-year-old Mary Rose who was found in the (mine) shaft. Investigations are now focused on whether the perpetrator was chatting with other women that are listed as missing. Suspicions of identifying more crimes.

  • Aim for a conference in the summer – Antonio Guterres and Jane Holl Lute coordinating on the Cyprob. The UNSG announces (the conference) indirectly but clearly in his report, setting timeframes. The Turkish side insists on a quadrilateral, but the UN prefers a multilateral meeting. Developments in the Cyprob are unavoidably linked with the renewal of UNFICYP’s mandate.


(Turkey) Proceeds with drillings

Turkey, through the pseudo-state, has informed the UN on explorations within the Cypriot exclusive economic zone (EEZ). The announcement covers most offshore blocks.

  • Attention turned on Guterres: Concerns he will end the procedure
  • Turkey heading towards economic suffocation
  • Dervis Ali Kavazoglu: A symbol of peace and reconciliation
  • Takis Hadjidemetriou: Cultural Heritage is ruined with time
  • Marinos Sizopoulos: EDEK’s bet is percentages (in Euro-elections) and a seat
  • Who ‘lost’ Turkey for the West? (opinion piece)
  • Stefanos Constantinides: Turkey and the ‘diplomacy of sons-in-law’ (opinion piece)
  • Yiannis Spanos: The US is seeking allies (opinion piece)


Informal conference by the end of June

Lute is seeking a basis for the resumption of talks with the leaders and the guarantors.

  • Turkey ought to choose between the S-400 or F-35 (interview with US Senator Bob Menendez)
  • Marios Garoyian: The centre must become the epicentre of developments
  • Neoclis Sylikiotis: The TC vote (in Euro-elections) gives a message of reunification
  • Euro-elections: Under the light of polls
  • Geostrategy: The F-35 have trapped Erdogan
  • Russia gets a (naval) base in Akkuyu


The (mine) shaft hides more crimes

A second woman’s body was revealed during police investigations to locate six-year-old Sierra, daughter of Marry Rose, who was found in a saponification state in the mine shaft in Mitsero a few days ago. The head of the Nicosia CID did not rule out the possibility of more bodies in the shaft. Investigations to find the six-year-old girl’s grave continue, as well as the verification of the identity of the second woman.

  • Political balances are shifting – Poll records deterioration in both the political and financial climate in Cyprus. Disappointment over Anastasiades’ handling of the Cyprob. Pessimism over the course of the economy.
  • The destructive course to partition must come to an end (opinion piece)


Horror and outrage

A second body was found in the Mitsero mine shaft while the search for the six-year-old Sierra continues. Marry Rose may finally prove to be the first link om a chain of dead foreign women buried in the same shaft.

  • The agonising effort to remove the deadlock: By Christos P. Panagiotides (opinion piece)
  • Analysis: The serious warnings of Guterres
  • (Ceremony on the) 100 years since the birth of Glafcos Clerides – (Former Greek Prime Minister) Costas Simitis and (Former Undersecretary to the President) Pantelis Kouros received honorary awards

Main News

Turkey to start drilling in Cypriot EEZ within days

Energy, Regional/International Relations


Nicosia is closely monitoring Turkey’s moves and taking the necessary actions after Turkey informed the UN Secretary-General through the pseudo-state that it will carry out drillings within offshore blocks of the Cypriot EEZ, south of the island in the coming days.

In an analysis piece in Phileleftheros, Costas Venizelos writes that Turkey has taken attempts to escalate tension and dispute the Republic’s sovereign rights a step further by designating blocks for offshore drilling.

Citing sources, Venizelos reports that the representative of the pseudo-state to New York, Ismet Korukoglu, has responded to accusations by the Republic of Cyprus on the illegal presence of the Barbaros in the Cypriot EEZ in a letter to the UNSG, which was submitted by Turkey’s Permanent Representative to the UN.

In the letter, which was distributed to all members of the Security Council, the Turkish side provocatively and audaciously hits back by reporting the so-called unilateral actions of the Republic of Cyprus and announces actions to protect the rights of the TCs, Venizelos said.

The letter, referring to an agreement between the pseudo-state and Turkish state petroleum company TPAO, announces to the UNSG that the Turkish side will proceed with seismic research by Barbaros and then drillings in blocks F and G within the coming days. The blocks in question cover blocks 1, 2, 8, 9, and parts of 13, and 12, but not Aphrodite, for which the Republic of Cyprus has issued licences to energy companies. This affects more the blocks in which Italian ENI is currently operating.

Turkey attempts to impose a fait acomplis by conducting drilling, leaving as an ‘alternative’, cooperation for the joint management of natural gas, Venizelos said. Against this background, and while instructions have been given to TPAO, the Turkish side draws on the report by the UN Secretary-General of last January on the development of mechanisms for reducing tension, which he associates for obvious reasons with the issue of hydrocarbons. At the same time, it refers to  previous proposals on the issue of co-management of natural gas from “the two sides in Cyprus.”

It is recalled, Venizelos said, that two identical proposals were tabled in September 2011 and September 2012 in New York by the then occupation leader Dervis Eroglu on setting up a technical committee on hydrocarbons. That is, integrating this issue in the context of bi-communal dialogue and promoting planning for management on this basis. In short, management of hydrocarbons before the solution, better yet, whether or not the Cyprus problem, which comes second, is resolved, he said. That is, the issue of gas should be discussed and shared.

A leaked note from Turkey’s Permanent Representative to New York, Feridun H. Sinirlioglu, dated March 22, raised the question of the demarcation of the country’s EEZ with neighbouring coastal states. It clarifies, however, that it will not discuss with the Republic of Cyprus, which it does not recognise, nor name. This reference is obviously a response to a proposal by Foreign Minister Nicos Christodoulides to open talks between the Republic of Cyprus and Turkey to demarcate their EEZs, Venizelos said. In the same letter, he said, Sinirlioglu refers to his earlier verbal statements to the UN, stating that Turkey has ipso facto and ab initio legal and sovereign rights in all the Eastern Mediterranean marine areas. The Turkish diplomat gave coordinates which coincide with the 12-nautical territorial waters of Cyprus, off Akamas, Venizelos reported

UN wants developments on the Cyprob by summer

Kathimerini, Phileleftheros, Politis
Negotiations Process


The UN would like to see developments on the Cyprus problem by summer, preferably a conference with all stakeholders involved to discuss and clarify matters, so that progress can be recorded in the UNFICYP report, the papers report.

Kathimerini, in an analysis by New York correspondent Apostolos Zoupaniotis, reports that the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, seems to interrupt the effort of his envoy Jane Holl Lute to achieve an agreement between all sides involved on the Terms of Reference (ToR) for the resumption of talks. Lack of encouragement by Turkey and new differences on internal aspects on which it had been deemed that convergences had been reached in Crans Montana, means that Guterres’ choices are limited, he said. Guterres could present his own ToR, Zoupaniotis said, but this would overturn the principle that the talks are Cypriot-owned while a rejection of the proposal would bring him, as well as the Security Council, in a difficult position, since after the toughening of US positions on the UNFICYP resolutions, a dead end would bring everyone before a dilemma.

Washington is afraid of something like that since on the one hand it has to stand on the principles that it has set for all peacekeeping missions, and on the other hand it will leave Cyprus exposed on the defence front at a time when it upgrades defence relations with Nicosia.

It is estimated that there will be multiple telephone communications of Lute with everyone involved, even visits to the capitals of the guarantor powers, Washington and probably Nicosia. The new timeframe is to have positive developments until the end of June so as to be recorded in the UNFICYP resolution. Without positive progress, consultations on the adoption of the resolution on the renewal of the UNFICYP mandate are expected to be more difficult than in January. Citing diplomatic sources, he said that during the last discussion by the Security Council of the UNFICYP mandate, there was the opening of the two crossings in November and the agreement by the two leaders in February on the implementation of CBMs on electricity networks and mobile phones.

If there is no agreement on the basis of the resumption of negotiations, as per Guterres’ call, some other major progress will be needed. Another question put forth by diplomats, Zoupaniotis said, is what exactly does a ‘basis for the resumption of negotiations’ mean and how much it differs from the ToR.

The Security Council, however, is expected to discuss Guterres’ report soon, but it is not yet known how it will react to it. Lute may be asked to present before it, he said.

Politis reports that sources within the UN confirmed that the aim of the UN is to repeat a conference with all parties involved during the summer, in order to clarify all aspects and all issues with regard to the Cyprus issue. The same sources told the daily that the way things are today, this is the most efficient solution that can exist for all sides.

The summer timeframe is not irrelevant at all to developments concerning the renewal of the UNFICYP mandate, the same sources said, according to the paper.

Phileleftheros, in an analysis by Andreas Pimbishis, said that the Secretary-General’s belief that there is some hope of keeping the process alive is something that is, in general, satisfactory. Nicosia has had a great deal of concern during the preparation of the report, because where things are at on the Cyprus issue would not make it difficult for the UN to decide that it has reached the end of the road. It is also obvious that the risk of a final deadlock is not hidden, since things continue as they are without any change, the article said.

The next stop will be the renewal of UNFICYP’s mandate in the middle of the summer. Antonio Guterres, at this stage, did not want to link developments on the Cyprus issue with the renewal of the peacekeeping force’s mandate, obviously, so as not to be seen as trying to extort a result. However, it would be utopian to believe that if things continue in the next two months as they are, the UN Secretary-General will continue to move on the same cautious line and leave the UNFICYP issue on a separate agenda, Pimbishis said.

Translate »