GCC Press Review 27 Jun 2019

Front Page Headlines


The 10 preconditions for borrowers

The traps and fine print of the Estia scheme. The application period will be between September 2 and November 15. Critical criterion for borrowers will be the viability of the restructured loan.

  • The amendment is “unfortunate” – The president on (the) Menendez-Rubio (bill).
  • Three suggestions to Guterres – Letter by the president.
  • Famagusta: (FM Nikos) Christodoulides met with (Famagusta Mayor Alexis) Galanos
  • €26 m on infrastructure for natural gas


New Turkish faits accomplis

Moves to annex the occupied areas to control energy sources. Τurkey and the occupation regime are discussing the Monaco model.

  • USA support to the trilateral (Cyprus-Greece-Israel) is being sealed also with a law
  • They are preparing the Yavuz for drilling in Karpasia
  • They are usurping the Lefkara lace by promoting it in Brussels – Provocation by the TC representation.
  • Conflict of interest over (AKEL MEP) Niyazi (Kizilyurek) according to two rulings


New support to banks through the Estia

Two large groups of vulnerable borrowers have been excluded from the Estia while those who will be included, if along the way are unable to pay their instalments, the banks will immediately start procedures for the sale of their homes. Banks will also proceed to balancing deposits and loans, while they will be confirming whether borrowers pay the two thirds of their installment.

  • They were celebrating (for the Menendez-Rubio bill) and now the president is sorry!
  • Lack of mobility (on the Cyprob) brings new faits accomplis
  • Spehar says Christofias left an important legacy – Homage also by GC and TC parties.

Cyprus Mail

US bill a blow to RoC sovereignty

Anastasiades calls last-minute Russian ban in US Cyprus arms embargo bill ‘unfortunate’.


The Estia scheme has been launched

What does the primary home protection scheme provide. It was approved yesterday by the Cabinet  with main objective to address non-performing loans. First step launched in July with the participation of banks, applications follow in September and first payments in December.

  • Menendez bill: The last-minute changes stirred problems
  • Government: First measure against the arrival of migrants

Main News

Anastasiades: Amendments to US bill on East Med are unfortunate

Alithia, Cyprus Mail, Haravgi, Phileleftheros, Politis
External Security, Regional/International Relations


The government’s reaction to a US bill calling for a lift of the arms embargo on Cyprus that among other things provides that the Republic denies docking facilities to Russian military vessels, features prominently in all papers.

President Nicos Anastasiades on Wednesday said that he was saddened by the last-minute amendments to a bill by US Senators Bob Menendez and Marco Rubio which call for denying Russian military vessels access to ports for refuelling and servicing and for Cyprus to cooperate with the US  government in efforts to implement reforms on anti-money laundering regulations and financial regulatory oversight.

Anastasiades said the amendments “affect the independence and sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus to a large extent”.

“To date, facilities to any country were always granted for humanitarian reasons and I don’t think such conditions can be set, especially with a country, and I’m talking about America, with which we seek further strengthening of our relations. I am under the impression that the amendment was unfortunate,” he said.

Government spokesman Prodromos Prodromou earlier in the day Nicosia considered it “particularly important that the US recognises the role of the Republic of Cyprus in a region of geostrategic importance like the south eastern Mediterranean”. He too referred to the long-standing humanitarian assistance Cyprus offers in the region.

AKEL spokesman Stefanos Stefanou said in a written statement that the amendments, unfortunately, justify the party’s belief that this would make Cyprus an area of international confrontation and jeopardise the relations with other countries that Cyprus needs at least equally with the US.

“There is no need for a profound analysis to figure out that Cyprus has indeed hitched itself to the US wagon,” Stefanou said adding that the Republic’s relations with a very important country, such as Russia, a permanent member of the Security Council are very seriously threatened.

According to the Cyprus Mail, both amendments are clearly designed to distance Cyprus from Russian influence in the military and financial spheres.

The daily reports that in February 2015, Anastasiades and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin signed an agreement allowing Russian military ships access to the island’s ports. At the time international players expressed concern that the agreement signalled  that Nicosia was shoring up already-close ties with Moscow, though the government insisted the arrangement was long-standing and it had merely been put in writing during Anastasiades’ Moscow visit.

The paper said the government clearly sees the bill as a political tool that could be used to pressure Turkey or help prevent its violations of the island’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) since it contains a technical amendment that creates a separate chapter for Turkish violations of Cyprus’ EEZ and the obligation of the Secretaries of State and Defence to submit reports to Congress on this.

According to the paper, the amendment appears to place Cyprus in a tight spot.

The paper also cites political analyst James Ker-Lindsay saying the US is clearly angling for Nicosia to take a position one way or another and that Cyprus would also not want to alienate Russia too much as it would not want to lose the Russian veto, especially given US noises over UNFICYP.

“But Cyprus is nothing if not adept at playing both sides. Fifty years of non-alignment taught it well. Perhaps it finally will have to make a choice. Or maybe Nicosia will find a way of balancing, as it always has,” Ker-Lindsay said.

The daily reported that only AKEL issued an announcement on the amendments.

Phileleftheros, citing sources reports that Nicosia is satisfied by that the trilateral cooperation with Israel and Greece is being strategically supported by the US which also provides strong support to the three countries’ energy goals and that it terminates the unfair decision taken 40 years ago on the arms embargo on Cyprus.

On the other hand, the amendment calling for denying Russian military vessels access to ports does not find Nicosia in agreement with the sources arguing that such a thing cannot be implemented and that not even NATO members apply such demands.

The paper also reports that the bill has sparked Turkey’s reaction that warns with escalation of tensions between Ankara and Washington. It reports that Anadolu agency, echoing Ankara, said that this controversial legislation, which rejects Turkey’s sovereign rights to the region’s resources, could further escalate tensions between Washington and Ankara since Turkish officials have already said they would not allow unilateral and arbitrary activities in Turkey’s sea area.

Haravgi reports that the president is now regretful but he was the one celebrating about the bill in question.  While the government was trying to shift focus on the lift of the arms embargo, the clear objective of the bill is the displacement of Russian and Chinese interests from the region. The US is seeking to ensure military, political, but also energy control in the Eastern Mediterranean, using as instruments the governments of Cyprus and Greece, the daily said. On Anastasiades’ and Prodromou’s statements on the bill, the daily asks: “Did they not know?”

Feels the amendments are unfortunate & is saddened by it since they affect the independence and sovereignty of the RoC to a large extent.
>> Cyprus has been granting facilities to other countries for humanitarian reasons and will not stop doing so on the request of the US with which the RoC seeks further strengthening of relations.

Welcomes that the US recognises the role of the RoC in the East Med which is a region of geo-strategic importance.

Stefanou (AKEL)
 The amendments justify AKEL’s concerns that Cyprus would turn into an area of international confrontation & see its relations with other countries it needs just as the US at risk.
>> It is clear Cyprus has hitched itself to the US wagon.
>> Concerned that the RoC’s relations with Russia which is a very important country and a permanent member of the Security Council are very seriously threatened.

Anastasiades sends Guterres letter with suggestions

Phileleftheros, Politis
Negotiations Process, Energy, Territory


The dailies report on a number of issues on the Cyprus problem, among them that Anastasiades  sent a letter to UNSG Antonio Guterres.
Politis reports that Anastasiades sent a letter earlier in the month to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres with suggestions aiming at relaunching the talks.

According to the paper, Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides told Politis radio Anastasiades suggests in his letter a joint meeting between the two leaders and Lute,  a joint meeting between the two leaders and Guterres and a meeting with the same composition as in Crans Montana.

Christodoulides said  any of the three options could be possible but given that the Turkish illegal actions in the Cypriot EEZ cease.

The paper recalls that TC leader Mustafa Akinci had recently called for a five-party informal meeting.

The minister reiterated that things could be even more difficult unless there are developments prior to the ‘elections’ in the occupied areas since the positions of Kudret Ozersay, one of the candidates, leave no room for optimism.

He also said that the EU supports Cyprus and will be escalating measures against Turkey depending on developments adding that at the moment there is nothing tangible as regards sanctions beyond instructions to the EU Commission to prepare a list with possible measures. The EU would reassess the situation and decide, he said, according to Politis.

Meanwhile, Phileleftheros, under the title ‘New faits accomplis and annexation moves’ cites a number of reports in TC media concerning agreements between Turkey and the occupied areas but also a debate on whether the Monaco model is applicable in the case of the occupied areas.

The paper reports that Turkey wants to control the energy sources by having a say in all the energy plans and actions of the Republic of Cyprus under the pretext she is defending the TCs’ rights.

Turkey and the occupation regime seem to have signed a new protocol providing that the Turkish coast guard will expand its cooperation with the occupied areas as regards monitoring third-country exploratory vessels looking for oil and gas in the Eastern Mediterranean without permission from Ankara, the daily reported.

It added that the Turkish side continues to look into various models that serve her appetite for the region such as the Monaco model that transferred its foreign affairs and security responsibility to France.

In the case of the occupation regime the foreign affairs and security issues would be given to Turkey, the daily reported, adding that basically this is a new move for the full annexation of the occupied areas.

Phileleftheros also reports that the issue of Famagusta is high on the agenda of ‘Foreign Minister’ Kudret Ozersay who continues meetings on the matter including with Akinci today.

In another article, Phileleftheros reports that the ‘government’ is under fire by political parties over its decision on recording properties in the closed-off town of Varosha citing exclusion of Akinci, going back on previous agreements between the two sides and acting hastily.

Anastasiades suggests meeting with Akinci and Lute, or with Guterres or based on the Crans Montana composition but only after Turkish provocations in EEZ end.
If there is no progress before the ‘elections’ there is risk of deterioration of the situation as regards the Cyprob given that Ozersay’s positions leave no room for optimism.
>> The EU will be escalating measures against Turkey depending on developments but there is nothing concrete at the moment as the bloc will decide whether to take action after the EU Commission submits a list with possible measures.

Recognition of Ercan airport out of the question

Haravgi, Phileleftheros, Politis
Territory, Property, Negotiations Process


Politis reports that Anastasiades is to receive a delegation of the Famagusta Municipality on Friday during the protest organised outside the Presidential Palace to demand the return to the closed-off town of Varosha to its rightful owners.

The group will deliver to Anastasiades a memo calling for the implementation of the two UN Security Council resolutions on the return of the closed-off town to its residents.

The TC teachers’ union will also attend the event as well as the bicommunal Initiative United Cyprus, the daily reported, adding that some Famagusta municipal councillors had reacted to the participation of the TC teachers.

Citing sources, the paper also reports that for the government, recognition of Ercan airport in exchange with the return of Varosha is out of the question. The proposal was voiced last week by Akinci while commenting on the TC ‘government’s’ decision to open the closed-off town, the paper said.

According to the daily the GC side is waiting to hear Akinci’s official position expected following his meeting with ‘Foreign Minister’ Kudret Ozersay on Thursday.

Politis, citing sources, reports that for the government, the only acceptable statement by Akinci is adoption of Anastasiades’ proposal for a bicommunal technical committee to record the state of properties in Varosha.

The daily also reported that Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides met on Wednesday with Famagusta Mayor Alexis Galanos and municipal council members. Citing sources, the daily reported that the minister gave them reassurances that the Republic would be represented as an interested party in cases before the European Court of Human Rights on the property status of around two thirds of Varosha claimed by EVKAF.

Christodoulides told the delegation the government does not get involved only in cases that are led to amicable settlement with the Immovable Property Commission, as was the case with one of the three most recent cases before the ECHR.

Haravgi reports that AKEL said that the latest announcements by the occupied areas on Famagusta were a violation of agreements, but also of the UN resolutions.

AKEL spokesman Stefanos Stefanou said in a statement that the recent statements of the so-called ‘Prime Minister’ Ersin Tatar were unacceptable and condemnable. It is clear that Turkey is repeating again a long-standing tactic that has been in place for years, he said, adding that whenever there is prolonged deadlock on the Cyprus issue for which Turkey is not blamed, the occupation power exploits the situation to create new serious faits accomplis.

Stefanou called on the president to take steps towards the resumption of talks negotiations in line with the parameters of the UN Secretary-General.

Politis also reported that no party rendered their support to the Famagustians’ protest outside the Presidential Palace except EDEK which however officially disagrees with the solution framework currently under discussion.

Phileleftheros reports that the committee of occupied municipalities invites everyone to join Famagustians outside the Presidential Palace to voice their opposition to a two-state solution and call for the return of Varosha to its owners.

Stefanou (AKEL)
TC announcements on intended moves in Famagusta are in violation of agreements and of the relevant  UN resolutions.
>> Tatar’s statements on the opening of Varosha under TC administration are unacceptable and condemnable.
>> Turkey is once against taking advantage of the standstill on the Cyprob to create new serious faits accomplis, especially since no one is blaming her for the hiatus.
>> Anastasiades must take initiative for the resumption of talks in line with the parameters of the UNSG.

TCs promote Lefkara lace as their own

Economy, EU Matters


The paper reports that the TC representation in Brussels is distributing note pads whose covers are decorated with Lefkara lace promoting it this way as their own creation. This contributes to efforts by the pseudo-state to present products as their own.

But while TCs do as they please abroad no effort is taking place at least at political level to hinder this usurpation, the daily said.

The paper reports that efforts are underway however to protect this centuries-old art and it seems they are close to putting a stop to the exploitation also due to replicas widely sold in the Cypriot market.

This concerns information campaigns targeting tourists but also Cypriots that wish to buy Lefkara lace but also through the inclusion of the Lefkara lace in the UNESCO National Intangible Cultural Heritage List in 2009, the daily reported.

More important, however, is an effort through the Cyprus Certification Company for the certification of the Lefkara lace.

Lefkara Mayor Sophocles Sophocleous told Phileleftheros that a last meeting will take place in July between all stakeholders to set the actions for the protection of Lefkara lace including encouraging shop owners to sell only the original product and certifying original Lefkara lace.

Second year of bicommunal educational programme successfully completed

Alithia, Haravgi
CBMs, Human Rights


The educational programme ‘Imagine’ which addresses primary, lower and upper secondary and vocational schools managed to bring together 3,665 students and 397 teachers from more than a hundred TC and GC schools in the last two academic years, the dailies report.

Citing an announcement by the bicommunal Technical Committee on Education, the dailies report that the second year the programme has been running was successfully completed on June 21, 2019.

Also, a new initiative to advance the programme was introduced this academic year that includes island-wide study visits designed in a way to provide students with an opportunity to collaborate with each other and integrate new perspectives with cultural heritage environments to enhance learning initiatives.

A total of 150 students from three TC and three GC schools joined the pilot phase of the study visit initiative ‘Learning from Nicosia’ that took place in both parts of the Nicosia walled city.

Another new initiative to advance the efforts of the committee, training of teachers, was introduced this academic year. The overall aim of the teacher trainings is to help increase contact and cooperation between teachers of the two communities in Cyprus, based on a holistic understanding of developing their knowledge, skills and attitudes on education for a culture of peace and non-violence.

In total 10 mono-communal trainings took place with the participation of 254 teachers from all districts of Cyprus and two bi-communal trainings by international experts took place with the participation of 50 GC and 50 TC teachers, the dailies reported.

Kizilyurek’s UCy post ought to be vacated legal opinion said

EU Matters

Phileleftheros reports that the Senate of the University of Cyprus ignored two legal opinions advising against granting academician Niyazi Kizilyurek who was elected last May as an AKEL MEP a five-year unpaid leave.

The Senate unanimously approved granting Kizilyurek a five-year unpaid leave citing reasons of public interest. The same had happened in the past when two other academicians working at the university were granted unpaid leaves to exercise their duties as ambassadors to Greece. After their service ended they returned back to their duties at the university, the daily reported.

The daily, citing sources, reported that in the case of Kizilyurek however, two legal opinions requested by the body said that according to the Constitution this is not possible due to conflict of interest. In the case of MEPs the same rules apply as MPs, meaning that the academic’s post ought to be vacated.

The sources told Phileleftheros that the legal opinions are not binding.  The Senate’s decision will also have to be ratified by the university’s staff committee, the daily reported.

New authority expected to process asylum applications faster

Alithia, Politis
Migration & Citizenship


The dailies reports that the government has announced a new measure aimed at putting a stop to the abuse of the system by economic migrants.

Interior Minister Constantinos Petrides said on Wednesday the refugee reviewing authority will not be accepting any more asylum applications, as these will now be processed by a specialised new court that began operations last week.

Petrides said that new asylum applications will now be handled by the international protection administrative court (IPAC) which began operating on June 18. The IPAC is tasked with examining appeals relating to provisions of the refugee law, including appeals against rejections of asylum applications.

Petrides said the cabinet decided to suspend the operations of the refugee reviewing authority after July 18 to allow time for processing some 1,700 outstanding asylum applications.

He said it is a very important measure and a reform to which the EU is giving great importance.  The minister expressed confidence the measure would put a stop to the abuse of the system due to delays in the processing of applications.

Translate »