GCC Press Review 25 Apr 2019

Front Page Headlines


Maricar’s ID photo implicates him

The 35-year-old was the last person the 29-year-old had contact with. He used the woman’s mobile phone to mislead her friend that she had crossed to the occupied areas. In Court today without the discovery of (Maricar’s) body and with Nikos Metaxas keeping mum.

  • Turkey: Uncertainty continues


The conversations gave him away

Nikos Metaxas was arrested as a suspect also for the murder of Maricar Valdez. The police chief appointed a three-member committee to look into police responsibilities.

  • Strict recommendations to Turkey by (US Senator Bob) Menendez
  • Response to the Germans on (Cerkez) Korkmaz by May 20
  • Final campaign meetings before the Euro-elections
  • Civil Defence shelters are turned into garages: Only 30 per cent of the population is covered


Beginning of GESY (National Health Scheme) with 30,000 registrations

Despite the technical problems in the electronic system, the first entries of patients in GESY were made yesterday, exceeding 30,000. The choice of a personal physician by each citizen is a key step in introducing GESY. In a few days, registrations for paediatricians will also start.

  • Developments on the Cyprob do not come about through wishful thinking, says the General Secretary of AKEL, Andros Kyprianou

Cyprus Mail

Officer now linked to another murder

Inquiry ordered into how police handled original reports women had gone missing.


From one shock to another

The public follows in shock developments on the murders. A third woman, victim of the serial killer, National Guard lieutenant Nikos Metaxas. It has not been ruled out that there might be five victims in total. Nothing suspicious (found) in 95 per cent of the mineshaft. UNHCR Cyprus: Three women from Somalia, who reside in Cyprus as asylum seekers and refugees, have been reported as missing since last week. What is the profile of 35-year-old Nikos Metaxas, through descriptions of people who had interacted with him. In order not to be disturbed by foreigners, he had transferred his female photography students to another space for classes. On the one hand, the sociable captain of the National Guard and a photographer, and on the other, the cold-blooded killer of innocent women who came to Cyprus for a better future. Introverted, cryptic, did not speak much… “He had raped my friend in his car one evening. She lived nightmarish moments. He threatened me not to report him because I would be in trouble. I was scared…”

  • We have 2,237 shelters and we are looking for more: If there is war…

Main News

US Senator warns Turkey over behaviour that could cause hot episodes in E. Med

Regional/International Relations, Energy


US Democrat Senator Bob Menendez made strict recommendations to Turkey without concealing his concerns over Turkish provocations in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean, as well as the possibility of a hot episode, the paper reported.

Citing an interview of Menendez with Euronews, the daily reports that the senator stressed Cyprus and Israel have every right under the law of the sea to exploit their exclusive economic zones (EEZ). He added that he is concerned over Turkish violations of Greek airspace and possible conflicts and that is why the US Senate has called on Turkey not to proceed with such violations.

We do not want to see two NATO allies involved in a conflict that would be frightening for NATO, the senator said, according to Phileleftheros.

Menendez said the reason his initiative with Republican Senator Rubio to table a bill to the US Congress concerning the region took place now, is because the countries involved – Greece, Cyprus and Israel – have now come close through their tripartite cooperation. This is also due to the close relationship of the US with Greece, not only because of the US naval base in Souda but also due to cooperation on counterterrorism. He also mentioned the energy cooperation which takes place in the EEZs of Cyprus and Israel and the energy road that Greece is opening, particularly with the transport of natural gas through Bulgaria, that could help bring new solutions to Europe’s energy issues so that the EU does not depend too much on Russia.

Menendez also warned that if Ankara proceeds with the delivery of the Russian missile system S-400 there will be sanctions. There are around eight sanctions that can be imposed on Turkey, he said, including export restrictions, arms procurement issues and very powerful financial instruments, such as restrictions on making any financial deal with US banks. The senator said that visa issues could also arise, Phileleftheros reported.

DISY-AKEL continue trading barbs over the Cyprob

Haravgi, Phileleftheros
Negotiations Process


The public confrontation between DISY and AKEL on the Cyprus problem continued on Wednesday with the latter hitting back at the ruling party over comments that they should be content over possible progress on the matter and not complain, the dailies report.

According to Haravgi, AKEL’s leader Andros Kyprianou was surprised to hear DISY’s response on his statements on the Cyprus problem.

They are pretending again, Kyprianou said, that they do not understand what we are saying. Right after Crans Montana we made it clear that we demanded from the president to take initiatives to continue the negotiations from where they were left off on the basis of the Guterres framework, Kyprianou said.

Expressing AKEL’s readiness to support the talks process as long as it begins again and moves in the right direction, Kyprianou said that what his party had tried to point out is the fact that positive developments will not arise as a result of statements by the DISY president or any other person. They will arise, he said, as a result of a sincere effort that will be developed by the president. And what we are pointing out is that, to date, no such thing has been seen by anyone, not only by us but by no one here in Cyprus and abroad, said Kyprianou. He urged DISY to read the reports of the UN Secretary-General to see with their own eyes what AKEL means.

According to Phileleftheros, DISY said in response that on the one hand, AKEL says that the president was unequivocal that no progress was expected and, on the other, that DISY and the government speak of an imminent initiative on the Cyprus issue.

DISY knows what it wants, the party said, adding that both they and the president want the process to continue from where it left off in Crans Montana following good preparation and this is what Anastasiades repeatedly told Lute.

The party called on Kyprianou, instead of daily attacking the government, the president and DISY, to say whether he and his party want to see progress on the Cyprus problem and a resumption of the dialogue.

Haravgi also reported that TC National Unity Party (UBP) leader, Ersin Tatar, said after a series of meetings in Ankara and Istanbul that the Turkish Foreign Minister shares the same views with him on the Cyprus issue. He also said that it was time to have an alternative two-state solution model at the table.

Kyprianou (AKEL)
AKEL made it clear from the start it wants to see initiatives by Anastasiades to resume talks from where they left off in Crans Montana on the basis of the Guterres framework.
>> AKEL is ready to support the talks process as long as they start & move in the right direction.
>> Positive developments will not come about through wishful thinking but through a sincere effort by Anastasiades. No such thing has been witnessed so far by anyone in Cyprus or abroad.

DISY and Anastasiades want the process to continue from where it left off in Crans Montana following a thorough preparation.
>> AKEL must clearly say if they want progress on the Cyprob instead of attacking Anastasiades daily.

Tatar (UBP)
>> He and Turkish FM share the same views on the Cyprob.
>> Calls for an alternative two-state solution model to be put on the table.

Murder suspect used north option to trick friend of possible victim

Internal Security


Nikos Metaxas, the man suspected of killing at least four persons – three women from the Philippines and a six-year-old girl – was the last person to have contacted 29-year-old Maricar Valdez Arquiola, who has been reported missing since December 2017 and whom police believe is one of his victims.

Politis, citing exclusive information, reported that Metaxas, after the disappearance of Arquiola, had tried to deceive a friend of hers who was searching for the 29-year-old by sending her a text message from the woman’s mobile phone telling her she would cross to the occupied areas because she wanted to be left alone and in another message that she could not live “without him”. Arquiola’s friend got suspicious at the time because the messages that were sent in the Filipino language were in a dialect which the missing woman was not using, and seemed to have been translated through Google Translate.

Police also found in the suspect’s phone data, a photograph of Arquiola’s identity card which was taken in December 2017. Police are now trying to identify the second body found in the Mitsero mineshaft last week and believe that it might be that of Arquiola.

Metaxas had also contacted Arquiola’s friend after seeing that she was looking for her on social media and asked to meet her to give her information about her missing friend but the meeting never took place because the woman refused to meet alone with him as he had insisted.

In another article, Politis reports that the underground mine of Kokkinogia, as it is called, where the bodies were found, was active between 1969 and 1979 and thousands of Cypriots, including TCs, had worked there, in wretched conditions.

The Mitsero area had many active mines from the 1950s onwards and copper extraction was at its peak, the daily reported, citing the former head of the geological survey department, Giorgos Constantinou, who said that the mine of Kokkinogia, was the only underground one in the area and was very rich in copper but also very deep.

The mine in question used to operate round the clock with three eight-hour shifts. Given that it was an underground mine and there were not many skilled workers in the area, many TC miners who had previous experience from the Mavrovouni mine, in the Skouriotissa area were travelling daily to and from Lefka to work there.

After the coup, Constantinou said, the TC workers received help to return to their villages but left many of their belongings in their work place.

Not enough shelters to cover population in case of hostilities

Alithia, Phileleftheros
Internal Security


There are in total 2,237 spaces designated as shelters by the Civil Defence where members of the public can go in cases of crises and hostilities, but there is still great need for more as they only cover 30 per cent of the population, the papers report.

In his response to a parliamentary question by Solidarity Movement MP Michalis Giorgallas on Civil Defence shelters, Interior Minister Constantinos Petrides said that of the 2,237 shelters, 1,641 are public spaces and can be used by the public in case of hostilities, while the rest are private and are for the use only of their owners.

The minister said that the Civil Defence continues efforts to include more underground areas such as basements as shelters but since this is a voluntary programme, owners are not obliged to keep their property as shelters while some change the use of their establishment along the way or reduce available space.

He also said that the Civil Defence is expected to receive 10 new vehicles for its fleet this year while its staff is being equipped with the proper protective gear depending on the operations they are involved in, adding that special attention is given to the crews dealing with fires and collapsed buildings.

Phileleftheros reported that shelters are being turned into garage spaces but did not provide further information. The 1,641 shelters designated as public spaces, which are required to protect a population of over 800,000 inhabitants, means that the coverage rate of existing shelters amounts to only about 30 per cent of the total population, the paper said.

Asylum Service: Korkmaz involved in political activities not armed struggle

Alithia, Haravgi, Phileleftheros
Regional/International Relations, Migration and Citizenship, Internal Security


The extradition hearing of Kurdish Turkish Cerkez Korkmaz who is wanted in Germany on terrorism-related charges continues at the Larnaca district court.

Korkmaz was arrested on March 21 at Larnaca airport on his way to Athens on a European arrest warrant issued by Germany.

The Court heard on Wednesday from the defence witness Andreas Agrotis who works at the state asylum service that Kormaz’s activities were political and that he was not involved with the armed struggle of PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party).

Korkmaz’s main activities, he said, concerned the Social Democratic Populist Party (SHP) that has political activities in Turkey and used to be a branch of the PKK.

The main reason Korkmaz was given political refugee status in Cyprus in 2011 was due to the fact he had been in prison for 10 years in Turkey due to his political action and that he had also been tortured, Agrotis told the court, adding that this was confirmed by the Human Rights association in Turkey. He said that Korkmaz had been subject to persecution in Turkey and that there were pending cases against him in Turkish courts over his involvement with the PKK.

The Republic of Cyprus has not officially declared PKK as a terrorist organisation, Agrotis said, adding that Korkmaz was not involved in any terrorist acts or conflicts that led to the deaths of civilians.

He said that Korkmaz was involved with Kurdish parties, some of which were legal and some of which had been declared as illegal by Turkey.

He said he is not aware of Korkmaz’s activities in Germany between 2013 and 2015, since the asylum service does not investigate the activities of persons it has already granted refugee status to, adding however, that if government services inform them of any offences that could call for a revocation of the status in question then a probe would be carried out.

During the hearing, a peaceful protest took place outside the court house with participants calling for the release of Korkmaz.

The hearing was adjourned until May 13 with the court saying that time is running out and a decision needs to be made. Phileleftheros reports that Cyprus needs to give an answer to Germany by May 20.

Parties busy ahead of Euro-elections

EU Matters


Preparations of political parties for the Euro-elections are in full swing since they will have only three weeks after Easter before the big day to convince voters to cast their vote to their candidates.

During this time, the daily said, parties will focus especially on the undecided. Based on polls so far, a battle is expected for the last seat. ELAM has been forecast to be slightly ahead of the other contender, EDEK, for the seat in question, although the party’s initial dynamic course seems to have been curbed. ELAM’s election campaign consists of gatherings, distribution of flyers and personal contact with the public.

As for EDEK, it intensifies its online and media campaign while it is trying to mobilise its supporters. The party’s final election event has been scheduled for May 16, the paper reports.

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