GCC Press Review 16 Dec 2019

Front Page Headlines


The Bishops of Limassol, Kykkos and Tamassos are unbelievable

The Archbishop on the Ukrainian issue and the three bishops’ Russian-friendly stance. “They have no shame,” they held a conference with the Russians although we had decided to be neutral. Moscow’s Patriarch Cyril is sending to me several envoys but I told him he will never be on the lead.

  • With Europe at the forefront (Cyprus making use of EU decisions on Turkey)
  • Mitsotakis: I am not afraid of a heated incident (with Turkey)


Three proposals by the health ministry

Constantinos Ioannou suggests return to the initial plans on family doctors’ pay. Dialogue and an agreement with GESY doctors themselves is the main precondition.

  • Turkey seeks general destabilisation – Reports for incident within the (Cypriot) EEZ.
  • Stern message to Ankara from Nikos Dendias


Education for peace and citizenship

The importance of the school leadership in promoting peaceful co-existence, human rights, and democratic citizenship is the subject of today’s bicommunal conference organised by the Technical Committee on Education. After the pupils and teachers, today the schools’ headmasters are meeting, while a programme for parents will follow.

  • The Cyprus problem among the issues Dendias-Guterres will discuss in Geneva
  • Israeli vessel faced with a Turkish warship
  • Government indifference for refugees


No problems-excellent cooperation

(Greek FM) Nikos Dendias refutes claims over problems and disagreements between Athens and Nicosia. Greece and Cyprus are the only EU member states facing national security issues due to the aggression of the “Eastern neighbour”. Turkey will not drag us down to the level of the Balkan brawler.

  • They chased an Israeli research vessel from the EEZ – Turkish warship ordered it to leave the ‘Turkish EEZ’. The incident concerned the Bat Galim oceanographic vessel that was carrying out sea research for the EastMed pipeline.
  • (Former Greek PM)Simitis blames Costas Karamanlis for everything (on Greek-Turkish relations)

Main News

Government downplays Israeli vessel incident in EEZ

Alithia, Haravgi, Phileleftheros, Politis
External Security, Regional/International Relations, Energy


The dailies report that the government on Sunday refuted media reports that Turkish warships harassed an Israeli research vessel within the Cypriot exclusive economic zone (EEZ). The spokesman however, admitted that though a Turkish vessel had asked an Israeli research vessel to leave, it was not a “heated incident.”

The incident took place on November 18.

According to the dailies, Government spokesman Kyriacos Koushios initially refuted on Sunday reports in the Israeli media that anything of the sort happened.

He later told CyBC, however, that indeed, a research vessel was asked by a Turkish vessel on November 18 to leave the area, which it did and carried on research in another area, with the issue ending there. “It was no heated incident,” Koushios said.

Politis reports that the spokesman urged media to be very careful as to what information they convey to avoid creating a false picture.

The dailies, citing Jerusalem Post, reported that a Turkish navy vessel expelled an Israeli research vessel working off Cyprus. The Israeli newspaper said the incident had been confirmed by Israel’s National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Ministry although the exact location of where the incident occurred was not provided. The paper said that Bat Galim, a vessel belonging to the Israel Oceanographic and Limnological Research, had researchers from Ben-Gurion University in the Negev aboard, as well as a Cypriot geologist, who were doing research approved by the Cyprus government.

The report said the Turkish vessel radioed the Israeli ship demanding to know its business in the area and then ordered it leave. “The Israeli ship had no choice but to comply and depart,” the Israeli paper said.

Phileleftheros reports that, in any case, the issue is Ankara’s constant effort to cause tensions in the region. Given that the vessel was carrying out work for the construction of the EastMed pipeline, the daily said, Turkey wants, through attempts to create a crisis in the region, to prevent plans for the construction of the natural gas pipeline. This is also one of the goals of the memorandum she signed with Libya, the paper reports.

The incident was blown out of proportion & urges media not to sensationalise news reports that paint the wrong picture of events.

Dendias: Greece-Cyprus relations are excellent

Alithia, Haravgi, Phileleftheros
Regional/International Relations, Negotiations Process


Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias reassured that the Athens-Nicosia relations remain excellent, the papers report.

The Greek FM is to discuss the Cyprus problem with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

According to the dailies, Dendias, speaking to Greek parliament during discussion on the state budget, said that relations with Nicosia were excellent and that there is good cooperation.

He also said that the sole aim is the solution to the Cyprus problem and defending the two countries’ common national goals.

“We seek the strengthening of our otherwise cordial cooperation,” he said.

Phileleftheros and Alithia report that these references by the Greek foreign minister is a response to recent reports that relations between Nicosia and Athens are not at their best lately.

Alithia also said that these references were an indirect but clear repudiation of the rumours circulating lately.

The dailies also report that Dendias was to meet on Monday with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in Geneva. Among other things, the two officials are to also discuss the Cyprus problem and developments in the East Med, the papers report.

Relations with Cyprus remain excellent with solution of the Cyprob & defending the two countries’ common national goals being the main priorities.
>> Greece and Cyprus seek to strengthen their otherwise cordial cooperation.

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