GCC Press Review 28 May 2019

Front Page Headlines


Party awkwardness, unclear message

At DISY they are looking for mistakes on strategy, at AKEL the role of the next day. Eleni (Theocharous) did not turn out to be a useless cause for DIKO that has endured. (EDEK leader Marinos) Sizopoulos gambled and won, (Citizens’ Alliance leader Giorgos) Lillikas-(Greens’ leader Giorgos) Perdikis sank.

  • EEZ: On hold for Lebanon
  • TC (polling) centres: 34 of the 50 opened
  • Election votes: They won without party dowry
  • TV elections: The ballot box showed Sigma (as the winner)
  • DISY losses from every direction The right-wing strongholds on the edges.
  • We abstained as Europeans


The president’s race

While in Brussels he will mull over (Justice Minister) Ionas’ (Nicolaou) successor and other outstanding issues. Scenarios on names ahead of the appointment of an EU Commissioner.

  • The (alarm) bell sounded at Presidential Palace-Pindarou street (DISY HQ) (over the election results) – Scenarios have started on a (DISY) deputy president. (DISY MP) Stella Kyriakidou seems to be slated for (EU) Commissioner.
  • Vote numbers always tell the truth – The results in numbers. 16,193 fewer votes for DISY, 7,389 more for AKEL, 4,076 votes from the TCs to the leftist party.
  • Who hit rock bottom, who skyrocketed – (Voters) turned their backs to party (candidates).


Strong ties between AKEL and society

AKEL, reinforcing its historical ties with society, will continue to strive for workers, young people, ordinary people, for all who feel crushed by policies which widen the social and democratic deficits in Cyprus and Europe, to lead the country to a new period of social prosperity, social justice and progressive change.

  • (Unpaid) Turkish compensations exceed €100m
  • The US wants an alliance with Cyprus against the “malicious machinations of Russia”
  • Files of refugees have disappeared from the legal service
  • Assessments of the (election) result and abstention

Cyprus Mail

EU poll: new faces and new worries

AKEL delighted over election of TC, but concerns over ELAM and rate of abstentions.


The truth of numbers

Euro-elections 2014-Euro-elections 2019: Victories and losses. Two big winners, two losers and two ‘special’ cases. DISY counts its losses. It recorded its biggest loss, losing overall 16,193 votes from the 2014 European elections (81,539-97,732). AKEL’s increase, at only 2,389 votes, is small but fictitious. If it did not get the bonus of 4,076 TC votes it would have recorded a loss. DIKO-Solidarity became only… DIKO. Greens and Alliance vanished. The biggest winners were the contenders for the sixth seat, EDEK and ELAM.

  • (US Congressman) Eliot Engel: We are looking for friends against Russia’s malevolent machinations
  • 21,000 GCs voted for Niyazi (Kizilyurek) ‘A TC in the European Parliament’ (How TC press assess the Euro-elections).
  • New ‘prime minister’: The road must open for a two-state solution
  • Government: Turkish compensations exceeded €100m
  • All the votes Loud abstentions and surprises.
  • Complaints: No Cypriot woman in the European Parliament

Main News

Congressman Engel: US seeks allies in East Med to tackle Russia’s machinations

Alithia, Cyprus Mail, Haravgi
Energy, External Security, Regional/International Relations


The papers report on the Chairman of the US Congress Foreign Affairs Committee Eliot Engel’s statement after a meeting with President Nicos Anastasiades in Nicosia that the US is looking for friends to tackle “Russia’s malevolent machinations.”

Engel had a meeting with Anastasiades at the Presidential Palace on Monday where they discussed regional and bilateral relations and a bill on the lifting of the US arms embargo on Cyprus.

After the meeting, the congressman expressed support for furthering Cyprus-US relations, saying he was excited about Cyprus and Israel working together on energy.

Asked if enhancing Cyprus-US relations involved the lifting of the US arms embargo on the island, Engel said: “There will be negotiations, there will discussions and I think there will be progress made.”

He said this was no longer the 1970s “and we have to look at each problem with a fresh look and I am for that.”

He said there is an opportunity to bring our two countries closer than never before.

Asked, however, how the US Congress viewed Turkish actions in the Eastern Mediterranean, Engel said: “I’d rather be more positive, talking with the President about relations between Cyprus and the US. We both agree that things are moving in a positive way, that we have the opportunity now to have a closeness in ties unprecedented between our two countries and I want to do everything I can.”

Asked to comment on how the US view has changed regarding the Eastern Mediterranean, Engel said: “With Russia’s malevolent machinations I think we are looking for friends who share our core values, democracy, and that is certainly the situation here as well.”

He also said he was excited about the prospects of working with Cyprus and the prospects of US ally Israel working with Cyprus.

“We have an opportunity for peace and cooperation as never before. The energy rights that this country has are exciting, it is a new threshold and I think that Mr Putin in Russia can’t and shouldn’t have been able to control the situation.”

Government Spokesman Prodromos Prodromou said that Anastasiades and Engel discussed regional cooperation, the bill lifting the US arms embargo on Cyprus as well as other issues regarding the two countries’ relations, including the economy and other fields.
Responding to a question about Engel’s statement on Russian policy in the region, and if this issue was raised during the discussion, Prodromou said that there was a discussion on the diplomatic activity between Cyprus and all neighbouring countries such as Israel and Egypt and the activity of Cyprus and Greece, which the US regards as a pillar of stability in the region. Co-operation among states in search of mutual benefit is in the interest of the whole region, he said.

Engel, he said, has been aware of Cyprus’ issues for decades and has expressed his support to the exercise and defence of the Republic of Cyprus’ sovereign rights, “which unfortunately Turkey is currently trying to question.”

He said Anastasiades expressed his satisfaction over Engel’s position as regards Cypriot-US relations and the defence of the Republic of Cyprus’ sovereign rights.

The Cyprus Mail reported that Engel sent a veiled message to Russia about staying out of Cyprus’ energy programme, but avoided getting into Turkey’s activities in the island’s EEZ.

Engel (US Congressman)
Will have discussions &negotiations on lifting US arms embargo on Cyprus & possibly progress.
>> Supports reassessing the situation as a lot of time has passed since the 1970s.
>> Opportunity to bring US & Cyprus closer than ever before since things moving positively, e.g. RoC’s cooperation with Israel.
>> US looking for friends in East Med who share same values to tackle Russia’s malevolent machinations.
>> Cyprus’ energy rights are exciting and Putin in Russia can’t and shouldn’t have been able to control the situation.

>> US regards Cyprus & Greece activities in the region as pillar of stability.
>> Engel supports exercise & defence of RoC’s sovereign rights which Turkey is currently trying to question.

Nicosia wants CoE to force Turkey to pay damages awarded to GCs

Alithia, Haravgi
Property, Human Rights


Nicosia called on the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe to adopt an interim resolution to mark the Committee’s disapproval over the €100m Turkey owes in damages to enclaved GCs and relatives of missing persons, the papers report.

Following the European Court of Human Rights judgment in the ‘Cyprus v. Turkey’ case, in a 17-page memo forwarded to the Committee ahead of its meeting at the beginning of next month, Nicosia said Turkey owes more than €100m in damages including interest to these persons.

The government also refers to an ongoing programme of ‘Turkification’ which continues to strip GCs of their rights, rendering any possibility of restitution nugatory. It calls on the Committee to adopt a decision in their next meeting, expressing grave concern that Turkey’s unconditional obligation to pay the amounts awarded by the Court in 2014 has been neglected for many years, despite the Committee’s repeated calls.
It also calls on the Committee of Ministers to adopt an interim resolution requiring the Turkish authorities to pay without delay the just satisfaction awarded by the Court in those cases.
The memorandum also says that the decision should reaffirm that the transfer (including but not limited to ‘sales’, ‘leases’ and ‘mortgages’) of, or construction in the occupied areas on, GC properties without the consent of the lawful property owners constitutes an ongoing violation of their rights, in violation of the Court’s principal judgment.
The decision should also call for immediate steps to prevent such transfers or construction and call for the immediate cessation of encouraging or promoting the sale and/or use of GC properties in the occupied areas without the consent of their owners

Three new Cypriot faces in the EP

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


All dailies report extensively on the aftermath of the elections, the new faces, who was left out, the messages sent out to parties by voters, the high abstention rate, which parties were the winners and which are counting their losses.

The papers report that three new faces enter the European Parliament; AKEL MEPs Giorgos Georgiou and Niyazi Kizilyurek, and DISY MEP and journalist Loucas Fourlas. The latter garnered 43,156 votes, the most a candidate received.

President Nicos Anastasiades in a written statement following the elections, called for cooperation and invited everyone to work to handle the threats Cyprus was facing and continue efforts to resolve the Cyprus issue. He congratulated the candidates adding: “I am sure that they will work together in the interest of Cypriot people.”

He said he was pleased with the increased participation of TCs. Anastasiades said it was disturbing however that a large portion of the population chose to abstain.
Chief Returning Officer Kypros Kyprianou said the turnout in Sunday’s European elections stood at 42.8 per cent, which was 1.17 per cent lower than the European elections of 2014, and the lowest-ever turnout of voters.

According to Phileleftheros, voters turned their backs on candidates who had strong ties with political parties and opted for fresh faces. The proof is that three top brass party members did not garner enough votes to make it to the EP the daily said, such as DISY’s Nicos Tornaritis, AKEL’s Neoclis Sylikiotis and DIKO’s Marinos Mousiouttas.

Citing sources, the daily also reports that DISY MP and vice-chairperson Stella Kyriakidou is expected to be appointed as an EU Commissioner.

Haravgi and Cyprus Mail report that the first TC MEP, Kizilyurek, said his election was of paramount importance, not because he was the first TC to be elected but because he was elected by both GCs and TCs.

“I think it’s a special case in itself. It shows that there are many people in our country who are ready to work together for a better Cyprus, for a better Europe,” Kizilyurek said.

Cyprus Mail also reports that while far-right ELAM did not succeed in winning a seat, concerns have been expressed over the party’s rising vote percentage that reached 8 per cent, almost tripling its support compared with the 2014 Euro elections, and doubling its percentage share since the 2016 Cyprus parliamentary elections. Anastasiades also said he was pleased with the increased participation of TCs but did not address the issue of ELAM, the daily said, while both leaders of AKEL and DISY warned however that the political sphere in Cyprus needed to analyse how and why a party like ELAM was gaining ground, and called for some introspection by the parties into the “birth of this phenomenon.”

Phileleftheros reports that DISY lost around 9 per cent of votes to ELAM, especially in the Famagusta district, but that the ruling party had a greater performance among new voters and EU nationals living in Cyprus.

Alithia, Politis and the Cyprus Mail report that 14 TCs voted for ELAM.

Deputy chief returning officer Demetris Demetriou told Politis only 35 of the designated 50 polling stations for TCs were opened because, after assessing the numbers of TCs arriving to vote, it was not deemed necessary.

Haravgi reports DISY was considered to be on the losing side since it lost more than 10 percentage points in relation with the 2014 European elections, while AKEL saw an increase of around 2 per cent, as did DIKO that climbed from the 11.98 per cent in 2014 to 15.1 per cent this year, but also  EDEK with 10.1 per cent compared to 7.3 per cent in 2014. The daily said, however, that EDEK leader Marinos Sizopoulos basically admitted that his party relied also on supporters of other parties so that ELAM would not get the sixth seat.

The paper alsoreports that AKEL spokesman Stefanos Stefanou said the election result was a condemnation of the DISY and Anastasiades government’s anti-popular policies.

He said AKEL’s decision to seek support for a bicommunal ticket was vindicated.

“A new chapter opens in the relations of the two communities and the prospect of a solution,” he said. Stefanou said AKEL would continue efforts to break the prolonged dead end so that the resumption of talks is made possible where they left off and based on the Guterres Framework.

Politis reports that Cyprus, which recorded a 57 per cent abstention rate, is fifth among the 11 EU countries with the highest abstention rates. Slovakia tops that list with 71.7 per cent, the daily reports. According to the paper, the village of Pelendri, an AKEL stronghold, recorded the highest participation rate in Cyprus at 70,4 per cent, followed by Ayios Theodoros in the Larnaca district, a DISY stronghold, where 69.1 per cent of registered voters cast their vote. The lowest participation was in Flasou where only 5.95 per cent voted.

According to Haravgi, TC journalist Esra Aygin tweeted on a ‘weird case of discrimination’ against TCs arguing that while the GCs were given 15 days to raise any objections as to the electoral roll, the TC electoral roll was announced after that deadline expired. As a result, 25 per cent of TCs were excluded from the procedure, Aygin said, according to Haravgi. Her comment however stirred numerous reactions including from former Health Minister Giorgos Pamboridis who replied that it was unfair to tarnish the electoral process and that TCs were given the right to vote without having to register in the electoral rolls as opposed to the GCs. But even so, only 5,000 TCs of the 80,000 eligible to vote voted, while a TC was elected with 16,000 votes, he said, according to the daily.

Alithia reports that the Greens-Citizens Alliance combination were not able to get a seat, while AKEL, if it weren’t for the bonus of 4,076 TC votes, would have recorded a loss. The paper also reports there was extensive media coverage in the occupied areas of the elections with some reporting that some 21,000 GCs voted for Kizilyurek.

Haravgi, Cyprus Mail and Alithia report that Gender Equality Commissioner Iosifina Antoniou said that the fact that no women were elected as one of the six Cypriot MEPs constituted a “serious democratic deficit”. Cyprus seems to be run by “intense patriarchal residues” and bound, to a great extent by “anti-democratic perceptions and anachronistic social stereotypes on gender roles in society,” the commissioner said. AKEL’s Marina Nicolaou, with 18,144 votes, garnered most votes among women followed by Solidarity leader Eleni Theocharous standing on a joint DIKO ticket, with 10,045. DISY’s candidates Eleni Stavrou received 9,538 votes.

Welcomed increased TC voter participation.
>> Called on MEPs to work together in the interest of Cypriot people & to cooperate to handle the threats Cyprus is facing as well as continue efforts to resolve the Cyprob.
>> Disappointed by low turnout.

Stefanou (AKEL)
The election results vindicated AKEL’s decision to seek support for a bicommunal ticket.
>> Kizilyurek’s election marks a new era in bicommunal relations & prospect of a solution.
>> AKEL will continue efforts to break prolonged deadlock on Cyprob so talks can resume where they left off & based on Guterres Framework.

Kizilyurek (AKEL MEP)
Feels his election is of paramount importance because he was elected by both GCs & TCs, showing many people in Cyprus are ready to work together for a better Cyprus and Europe.

Tatar: There are two states in Cyprus

Negotiations Process


The paper reports on coverage by TC media on statements by the new ‘prime minister’ Ersin Tatar on a two-state solution but also the incident last Friday between Russian Ambassador Stanislav Osadchiy and ‘foreign minister’ Kudret Ozersay.

Tatar said in statements to the Turkish agency DHA that Cyprus is a very important island for TC and Turkey’s security and called for the way to be paved for a two-state solution.

He was quoted saying that GCs want a unitary state. They see the TCs as a minority and are trying to reinforce their military cooperation with other states, he said.

Tatar also said GCs are trying to garner US support to corner Turkey.

Their aim is to put Turkey out of Cyprus and prevent its opening in the Eastern Mediterranean, he said. “We will never allow this and we will take the necessary steps in cooperation with our Turkey,” he told DHA.  

He said there are two states in Cyprus, according to Alithia.

The paper also reports that TC media reacted to Osadchiy’s comment under the announcement by the ‘foreign ministry’ on the meeting of the Russian ambassador with Ozersay.

Wants a two-state solution.
>> Cyprus is very important both for the security of TCs and Turkey.
>> There are two states in Cyprus but GCs want a unitary state and see the TCs as a minority.
>> GCs are trying to reinforce their military cooperation with other states including the US in a bid to corner Turkey, push it out of Cyprus & prevent its opening in East Med. TC side will never allow it.

Cyprus hopes for Israel-Lebanon agreement on disputed EEZ

Energy, Regional/International Relations


The paper reports that there is hope that Israel and Lebanon will bridge their differences on the delimitation of their exclusive economic zones after the launch of a new round of consultations by the US on the matter.

Such a development directly affects Cyprus since it will pave the way for the ratification by Lebanon’s parliament of the 2007 Cyprus-Lebanon agreement on the delimitation of their EEZs which is currently pending. Lebanon said this would be done when they iron out a dispute with Israel over a small part of the EEZ between the two countries. Cyprus had offered in the past to act as a mediator but the two countries opted for US support instead, the daily reported.

Large-scale international S&R exercise starts

Phileleftheros, Politis
External Security, Regional/International Relations


The international maritime search and rescue exercise ‘Argonaut 2019’ started on Tuesday with the participation also of staff from Greece, Israel, France, the US, Germany and the UK, the papers report.

The exercise will take place between May 28 to 30, and entails the cooperation of the ministries of defence, interior and foreign affairs. It will take place in four phases within the Nicosia FIR and the Exclusive Economic Zone of Cyprus.
In the framework of the exercise, Cypriot authorities will assess the national plans ‘Estia’ and ‘Tefkros’ which provide for the reception of large numbers of evacuees from neighbouring countries as well as for the management of search and rescue incidents.

The defence ministry said a large number of foreign military personnel and diplomats will watch the exercise since the Middle East is an area of particular interest and instability that makes the exercise scenario a realistic one.

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