GCC Press Review 30 May 2019

Front Page Headlines


Premiere for GESY (National Health Scheme) with many technical gaps

Fear and terror over the software for healthcare providers. Concerns and insecurity. The electronic system is a thorny issue also for state doctors. Most have not even used it yet. DISY’s (deputy chair Nicos) Nouris sees problems in GESY two days before its application.

  • The distance from EU growing – Breaks on Turkey from the (European) Commission. Brussels did not turn a blind eye to Ankara’s provocations.


Battle against time for GESY

Forty-eight hours before its implementation they are rushing to solve the problems that started appearing. The compatibility of the software is a headache.

  • (European Commission) Maintains the possibility of measures against Turkey – Strong Commission report.
  • Occupied areas: On course for ‘Plan B’
  • (AKEL leader) Andros (Kyprianou) and (AKEL MEP) Niyazi (Kizilyurek) give joint response (today) on the MEP’s positions
  • (Former GC CMP member Nestoras Nestoros:) “They buried people without identifying them”


Race for smooth start of GESY

Just two days before the official start of GESY there are already problems (which in any case would have been expected since this is a huge undertaking) that cause concern to those involved. Particular mention is made of the software system which a large number of health providers still don’t know how to operate.

  • (European Commission) Warnings to Turkey
  • Kudret Ozersay rejects federation and backs “new ideas” on the Cyprob
  • Waste water leaks into the Pedieos River causing environmental damage and health problems.

Cyprus Mail

EU takes Turkey to task in report

Foreign ministry describes EU report on Turkey its ‘most critical’ since 2005.

  • President to open historic Ibrahim Khan in Paphos


Difficult start

Anticipation but also concerns a few hours before the implementation of GESY. There are fears of shortages in medicines at the first stage, practical difficulties in e-prescriptions but also a possible ‘crash’ of the computerised system. The HIO (Health Insurance Organisation) admits the existence of problems but reassures that everything will roll out smoothly.

  • Turkey stumbles on the (Cypriot) EEZ – Strict remarks in the progress report on its accession path. Foreign ministry: “Perhaps the most critical report on Turkey since the opening of the accession negotiations in 2005.”
  • Missing persons: Disagreements have surfaced between Nestoros and (Presidential Commissioner Photis) Photiou
  • Russia said delivery of S-400 to Turkey will take place earlier while USA is considering suspending training of Turkish pilots on F-35s

Main News

‘Latest EU progress report on Turkey the most critical so far’

Alithia, Cyprus Mail, Haravgi, Phileleftheros, Politis
Energy, EU Matters, Negotiations Process, Regional/International Relations


All papers report on the European Commission’s progress report on Turkey and the reaction of the government that welcomed it arguing it is the most critical one since Ankara opened EU accession negotiations in 2005.

On the Cyprus problem, the report said that although Turkey welcomed the UN’s renewed efforts to consult stakeholders as to a possible resumption of negotiations, tensions in the region around the prospect of hydrocarbon exploration increased due to Turkey’s actions and statements challenging the right of the Republic of Cyprus to exploit hydrocarbon resources in its EEZ.

It referred to the prevention by Turkish navy ships of planned drilling activities by a vessel contracted by Italian company ENI in February 2018 and the deployment last May by Turkey of a drilling platform to Cyprus’ EEZ, “escalating tensions further.”

The report also recalled the European Council statements of March 2018 and March 2019 strongly condemning Turkey’s continued illegal actions in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean Sea and Turkey’s obligation to respect international law and good neighbourly relations. In March 2019, the EU called on Turkey to refrain from any such illegal acts, to which it would respond appropriately and in full solidarity with Cyprus, it said.

It called on Turkey to respect the sovereign rights of Cyprus to explore and exploit its natural resources in accordance with EU and international law.

It added that there was no progress on normalising bilateral relations with the Republic of Cyprus and that Turkey had still not fulfilled its obligation to ensure “full and non-discriminatory” implementation of the Additional Protocol to the EU-Turkey Association Agreement and had not removed all the obstacles to the free movement of goods, including restrictions on direct transport links with Cyprus.

It also said there had been repeated and increased violations of the territorial waters and airspaces of Greece and Cyprus by Turkey, and that the lack of adequate communication between air traffic control centres in Turkey and Cyprus continued to compromise air safety in the Nicosia flight information region, requiring an operational solution.

Turkey will not be in a position to fully implement the acquis relating to the chapter on transport as long as restrictions remain in place on vessels and aircraft registered in Cyprus, it said.

The report also said Turkey continues to veto applications by the Republic of Cyprus to join several international organisations, including the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

The Cyprus foreign ministry said in a statement that the Commission report is perhaps the most critical issued since the opening of accession negotiations in 2005.

“Cyprus notes as very positive the fact that the report records the unlawful actions of Turkey within the EEZ of Cyprus, and notes the strong condemnation of these actions by the European Council and the fact that the EU has reiterated its position that it will react to Turkey’s illegal actions appropriately,” the foreign ministry said.

It added that the report records yet again the complete lack of progress in the obligations of Turkey to Cyprus. The ministry said the government was studying in depth the content of the report, which would be circulated within the competent EU institutions in view of Turkey’s accession process evaluation in June by the European Council, which will issue its conclusions.

Haravgi reports that Turkey’s deputy Foreign Minister Faruk Kaymakci said the report was unacceptable and that it was a mistake that the Republic of Cyprus joined the EU.

The minister said Turkey would take into account the balanced and logical criticism in the report but not the unfair and disproportionate criticism. Unfortunately, this non-objective EU approach cannot define the current situation in Turkey, he said.

Phileleftheros, citing sources, said the report keeps the prospect of measures against Turkey open. This is due to the intervention of the office of Cypriot European Commissioner Christos Stylianides during background consultations on the preparation of the document in question but also the pro-active diplomacy of Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides, who had raised the issue during a meeting with the competent Commissioner, Johannes Hahn, a few weeks ago, it reported.

European Commission
Turkey has taken a positive step by welcomingrenewed UN efforts for a possible resumption of talks but her actions and statements that challenge the RoC’s right to exploit hydrocarbon resources in its EEZ increased tensions.
>> Repeats European Council statements of March 2018 and March 2019 that strongly condemn Turkey’s continued illegal actions in the East Med & Aegean & called on Turkey to refrain from any illegal acts, to which it would respond appropriately.
>> Calls on Turkey to respect sovereign rights of Cyprus to explore and exploit its natural resources in accordance with EU and international law.
>> Still no progress on normalising bilateral relations with the RoC & has still not fulfilled its obligation to ensure full implementation of Additional Protocol, lifting all obstacles to the free movement of goods, including restrictions on direct transport links with Cyprus.
>> An operational solution is needed for the lack of adequate communication between air traffic control centres in Turkey and Cyprus which continues to compromise air safety in the Nicosia FIR.
>> As long as restrictions remain in place on vessels and aircraft registered in Cyprus, Turkey will not be in a position to fully implement the acquis relating to the chapter on transport.

Report is perhaps most critical issued since accession negotiations launched with Turkey in 2005.
>> Fact that report records unlawful actions of Turkey within Cyprus’ EEZ & strong condemnation by European Council & reiteration that EU would react appropriately is very positive .

Kaymakci (Turkey)
Report is unacceptable. Turkey will take into consideration balanced & logical points but not unfair & disproportionate criticism.
>> It is a mistake that “south Cyprus” joined the EU.
>> Due to its non-objective approach, EU not in a position to accurately assess the current situation in Turkey.

Dispute over identification of missing persons’ remains

Alithia, Phileleftheros, Politis
CBMs, Human Rights


Presidential Commissioner Photis Photiou rejected reports by Phileleftheros concerning his refusal to grant access to information on boxes containing remains that are stored at the anthropology lab of the Committee on Missing Persons (CMP), the papers report.

Photiou rejected as untrue statements by former GC member of the CMP Nestoras Nestoros that he did not grant access to information on those boxes due to fears it would be revealed that the remains given to relatives for burial were not those of their loved ones.

Photiou said that those boxes contain remains found at the Makedonitissa Tomb, adding that the government had submitted to the CMP all the data banks with genetic and anthropological information concerning all cases of GC and Greek missing persons.

He said he has already sent to the CMP a detailed report with all categories of remains located at the anthropology lab concerning the Republic’s programme in the free areas.

Everyone knows that the remains at the lab are those that had been sprayed in the past with chemicals and despite efforts in Cyprus and abroad, it was not possible to identify them, he said, adding that efforts continue. Regarding the identifications made under the Republic of Cyprus programme, there has been a review of all the cases, he said.

Phileleftheros reports that Nestoros insists that Photiou did not grant access to the archived material of the lab and wondered why. He also referred to 14 cases concerning wrong identification of remains by the Institute of Neurology and Genetics. He wondered how everyone is certain that everyone knows the identity of all those buried since not all of them had been identified before being buried.

Nestoros gave as example two cases of wrong identification of two men whose remains were believed to have been found buried at the Lakatamia military cemetery and were given to their relatives. At a later stage however the actual remains of these two men were found during excavations in other areas, one in Famagusta, the other in Trachonas, Phileleftheros reports.

Ozersay: Time to set in motion Plan B

Haravgi, Phileleftheros
Negotiations Process


The dailies report on statements by TC ‘foreign minister’ Kudret Ozersay that the two sides ought to discuss new ideas on the Cyprus problem.

According to Haravgi, Ozersay reiterated that a federal solution is no longer an option under the current circumstances and called for a new procedure based on the cooperation of the two sides.

He said the “Greek Cypriot administration” was not willing to agree to a federal solution and that both sides must reach a consensus for the creation of a partnership relationship.

Phileleftheros reports that the new occupation regime begins the implementation of Turkish plans on the ‘Plan B’. Ozersay, who undertook the promotion of ‘Plan B’, gave some explanations as to the necessity of getting away from ‘Plan A’ “which serves the status quo,” the daily reported him saying.

According to Phileleftheros, the new TC ‘prime minister’ Ersin Tatar also said that more realistic ideas were in order such as cooperation models and the presence of two states within the EU.

Federal solution no longer an option hence the need for a new procedure based on the cooperation of the two sides.
>> GC leadership not willing to agree to a federal solution so the two sides ought to now agree to the creation of a partnership relationship.
>> It is time for Plan B since Plan A serves the status quo.

>> More realistic ideas needed such as cooperation models.
>> One option is two Cypriot states within the EU.

UNFICYP marks UN Peacekeepers day

Alithia, Cyprus Mail, Haravgi
External Security


UNFICYP on Wednesday marked in a special ceremony the 71 years since the first-ever peacekeeping mission was launched to the Middle East on May 29, 1948.

That date, May 29, has since also been observed as the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers worldwide.

The day aims to honour over one million people who have served with the UN since 1948, and to commemorate all those who lost their lives in the line of duty, which numbers 3,800 worldwide, including 184 in Cyprus.

UNFICYP has been in Cyprus since March 1964 following intercommunal troubles on the island.

UNFICYP spokesman Aleem Siddique said on Wednesday the force is deeply grateful to the 100,000 peacekeepers – civilian, police and military personnel – serving around the world today, including more than 1,000 in Cyprus.

Alithia has an extensive article on the event and UNFICYP which is among the longest in duration peacekeeping forces in the world, it said.

Nicosia GC and TC mayors support bicommunal children’s event

Alithia, Cyprus Mail, Haravgi
CBMs, Human Rights


A bicommunal event to mark International Children’s Day will be held on June 1 at the Home for Cooperation in the Nicosia buffer zone, organised by the Nicosians-Municipal Coordination Group and under the auspices of the mayors on both sides of Nicosia, Constantinos Yiorkadjis and Mehmet Harmanci.

Representatives of the two municipalities said the event is dedicated exclusively to children, and against all discrimination on grounds of colour, language, gender, physical condition or origin. It also aims to promote children’s rights on the island.

Anastasiades opens Paphos historic khan

Cyprus Mail
Human Rights


President Nicos Anastasiades will inaugurate the historic Ibrahim’s Khan in the heart of Paphos old town on Friday, the paper reports.

Following the renovation of the complex, a number of artists and artisans now occupy the individual units at the khan, an historic building which was used as an inn in the past.

After the inauguration a concert will take place by well-known Greek singer, Eleni Tsaligopoulou and band Bogaz Musique, as well as a photographic exhibition and other activities.

The renovation project totalled €3.3m and was co-funded by the EU’s European Regional Development Fund and the Paphos municipality, the daily reported.

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