GCC Press Review 18 Dec 2019

Front Page Headlines


They turned their back to the Estia scheme

Limited participation to the primary home protection scheme. Until last week 621 applications had been submitted, while 967 were lacking necessary documents. Most of the eligible borrowers are non-viable.

  • Turkey-US: (Threat over closing down base at) Incirlik disturbed the US


Putting a stop to Erdogan who is getting ahead of himself

Israel gives reassurances to Nicosia that it is not discussing a pipeline to Turkey. Greece chooses not to have sanctions imposed on Turkey.

  • The Mediterranean cooperation (will be voted into) law in the US – Lifting of the arms embargo on Cyprus.
  • Israel and Egypt the target of the drones – Control zone from Lefkoniko.
  • Hail in Kapparis, tomatoes from the occupied areas
  • Cavusoglu to the EU with a list of demands
  • Those with a foreign mother will be doing full military service


Another life gone in the struggle for wages

After the tragic death of family man Giorgos Georgiou from Galata, a new fatal labour accident occurred in the Vassilikos area with victim 56-year-old Andys Evangelis from Dherynia. Under conditions being investigated, the crane’s wire severed and as a result, the metal hook fell and hit Andys to the head.

  • The US is involving us into rivalries
  • We must act before we lose halloumi

Cyprus Mail

Drugs shipped to Australia in BBQs

Police expect arrests in Cyprus after major drugs seizure.


Yes, we are close to an agreement

What do the health minister and Savvas Kadis say on the inclusion of private hospitals in GESY. The negotiations between the HIO (Health Insurance Organisation) and PASIN (Private hospitals association) are at the final stages and soon, signatures are expected. HIO will guarantee the viability of the hospitals for three years.  The doctors’ pay will be separate from that of the hospital. The tender bid envelopes are being opened for on-call services from private doctors.

  • War cries from Turkey in the occupied areas – TCs are shouting and protesting. Sener Elcil: Tayyip Erdogan is trying to create a Sunni Islam caliphate. A team of experts has been set up at the Lefkoniko airport for the monitoring of the drones. (GREKK FM Nikos ) Dendias: We wanted condemnation of Turkey over the memorandum with Libya for now, later we will go for sanctions.
  • ‘No’ to Energean: The proposal for a pipeline from Israel is being rejected

Main News

Spehar to see leaders before finalising UNFICYP report

Alithia, Haravgi, Phileleftheros
External Security


The UN Secretary General’s Special Representative in Cyprus and head of UNFICYP Elizabeth Spehar plans on having separate meetings with the two leaders in early January ahead of the her trip to New York to brief the UN Security Council on the peacekeeping force’s operations, the dailies report.

Citing sources that spoke to the Cyprus News Agency (CNA), the papers report that Spehar’s office is currently working on a draft of the UN Secretary General’s report on UNFICYP which it will submit by the end of the year to the UN Secretariat.

The same source said that before flying to New York, Spehar will hold in early January, meetings with Nicos Anastasiades and Mustafa Akinci to listen to their positions and opinions on the latest developments. According to the same source, the UN Secretariat will then finalise the report that is expected to circulate as an official document of the UN Security Council during the second week of January.

Spehar will fly to New York next month to brief the UN Security Council during its session on the UNFICYP report that is expected to take place during the third week of January, before the adoption of the resolution for the renewal of the peace-keeping force’s mandate at the end of January, the papers report. 

Turkey warns of dangerous escalation over lifting of the arms embargo on Cyprus

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


All dailies report that developments are expected this week as regards the Eastern Mediterranean Security and Energy Partnership bill which is to be voted into an Act by Congress by December 20, but also the lifting of the arms embargo on Cyprus.

In the meantime, Turkey warned that the attempts to lift the US arms embargo on Cyprus would hamper efforts towards a settlement on the island and create a dangerous escalation.

The dailies, report that the Eastern Mediterranean Security and Energy Partnership bill tabled at the US Senate by Democrat Robert Menendez and Republican Mark Rubio, and in the House by Republican Costas Bilirakis and Democrat David Sicilline, will be voted into an Act by Congress by December 20. This in turn will be followed by the Senate approval of the budget on national defence, which includes provisions for the lifting of the arms embargo on Cyprus which has been in place for decades.

The bill, to be passed at the US Congress by Friday, provides for an East Med energy partnership with Greece and Cyprus and mandates the compilation of a report scrutinising Turkey’s violations of Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) but also one detailing Russia’s influence in Cyprus. This in turn will be followed by the Senate approval of the budget on national defence, which includes provisions for the lifting of the arms embargo on Cyprus.

Cyprus Mail also reports that the Turkish foreign ministry on Tuesday said that, once again, the draft National Defence Authorisation Act for 2020 includes hostile aspects against Turkey. Among other things, the ministry said in a written statement that “attempts to lift the US arms embargo on the Cyprus island in favour of the Greek Cypriot Administration will have no outcome other than hampering efforts towards a settlement on the Island and creating a dangerous escalation.” The language of threats and sanctions will never dissuade Turkey from resolutely taking steps to ensure its national security, it said. “No one should doubt that necessary measures will be taken against these initiatives targeting Turkey, it added.

The US House plenary is expected to vote on the bill in two sections, on Tuesday and Wednesday, and the Senate will follow. The procedure should be wrapped up by December 20 and be signed by Friday evening by President Donald Trump.

 The Act states that, not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment, the US Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of Defence and the Secretary of Energy, must submit to the appropriate congressional committees a report listing incidents since January 15, 2017 determined by the Secretary of State to interfere in efforts by Cyprus to explore and exploit natural resources in its EEZ. A similar report is required for violations of Greek sovereign territory.

The second report mandated within 90 days concerns Russian influence on Cyprus, Greece and Israel, since January 1,2017. It seeks an assessment of security, political and energy goals of the Russian Federation in the Eastern Mediterranean and a description of Russian energy projects in the Eastern Mediterranean. The US will also be seeking a listing of Russian national ownership of media outlets in these countries, including the name of the media outlet, approximate viewership, and assessment of whether the outlet promotes pro-Kremlin views.

Haravgi reports that through this bill Cyprus is being pushed into rivalries.

Warns that any attempts to lift the US arms embargo on Cyprus in favour of the GCs will lead to hampering efforts towards a solution & a dangerous escalation.
Warns that she will take the necessary measures against initiatives targeting her & will continue taking steps to ensure its national security regardless threats and sanctions.

Turkey wants reactivation of accession talks and unfreezing of chapters

EU Matters


According to the paper, Turkey has asked from the EU to keep to its promise included in the March 18, 2016 EU-Turkey statement seeking reactivation of its accession process.

Citing sources, the daily reports that Turkish Foreign Minister Mevult Cavusoglu submitted a list of demands to European Commissioner for Enlargement Negotiations Oliver Varhelyi on the sidelines of the Global Refugee Forum in Geneva.

The Turkish minister referred to the reactivation of the country’s accession process and to the promotion of five of the six negotiation chapters which Cyprus unilaterally froze in 2009. He pointed out that Turkey cannot be considered an EU partner just on the refugee issue.

The daily also reported that the EU Commission follows the path paved by its vice-president Margaritis Schinas, over the rekindling of EU-Turkey relations and high-level meetings despite the EU28 decision for the suspension of high-level dialogue due to Turkey’s illegal activities in Cyprus’ EEZ.

The daily also reports that Varhelyi said after the meeting that there was need for opening channels communication between the EU and Turkey, which makes it clear that the new EU Commission overlooks the unanimous decision for suspension of high-level talks with Turkey.

Israel says remains committed to EastMed project

Energy, Regional/International Relations


The daily reports that Nicosia has been reassured by Jerusalem that the Israeli side is not discussing with Turkey the construction of a pipeline for the sale of natural gas to Europe.

Citing sources, the daily reports that after a lengthy telephone conversation Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides had with the Israeli foreign ministry, reassurances have been given that Jerusalem remains committed to everything that has been agreed on as regards the construction of a pipeline from the region’s energy reservoirs to Europe through Greece and Italy.

Turkey had informed Israel that the EastMed pipeline project needed Turkey’s permission since it would be passing through ‘Turkish waters’, the daily reported, adding that Ankara had suggested the creation of a pipeline for the transfer of Israeli natural gas to Europe through the existing Turkish infrastructure.

The daily also reports that a difference of approach has emerged on the matter between the Presidential Palace and the foreign ministry judging from statements by the government spokesman and Christodoulides yesterday.

Christodoulides, after the chat with Israel, says he sees no change to the country’s approach as regards Turkey but also Cyprus.

Government Spokesman Kyriacos Koushios on the other hand, said that the Israeli side could help by conveying messages from Cyprus to Turkey, since the latter refuses to engage in direct dialogue with the Republic of Cyprus, the paper reports.

There is no change to Israel’s positions as regards the EastMed project.

Koushios (Govt spokesman)
Given that Turkey refuses to hold direct dialogue with the RoC, Israel could help convey messages from Cyprus to Turkey.

Tomato producers fear competition from north after hail destroys crops

CBMs, Economy


The daily reports that producers in the Famagusta district expressed concerns after hail destroyed their crops last week that the market will now be flooded with tomatoes from the north.

Tomato producers told the paper that last Saturday’s hailstorm in the Kapparis area in Paralimni caused great damage to the crops and will lead to reduced quantities but also raised prices due to the need to offset production costs. This will result in GC consumers blaming producers of taking advantage of the festive season to raise prices, they said.

They said that some sellers will turn to their associates in the occupied areas and bring over tomatoes but also other agricultural products of which there are also limited quantities in the GC market.

Producers also raised the issue of the origin of produce coming from the north arguing that it is impossible to check if they were truly produced by TC farmers or if they came from Turkey and have been baptized as TC produce through the documents issued by the TC Chamber of Commerce, the paper reports.

GC press monitoring developments on the drone base in north

Alithia, Cyprus Mail, Haravgi, Phileleftheros
External Security


The dailies report on developments in the north following the arrival this week of the first Turkish drone and the designation of the Lefkoniko airport as their base but also reports on the possibility of a naval base at Trikomo.

Phileleftheros reports that the Erdogan government has put in motion the ‘Blue Motherland’ dogma with his country’s latest moves revealing his expansionist plans in the wider Eastern Mediterranean. What is now being seen is Turkey’s attempt to extend its monitoring and control zone and maritime activities also south of the Cypriot EEZ, within the area that falls within the EEZs of Israel and Egypt, two countries with which Cyprus maintains close relations within the framework of the trilateral partnerships it has signed and which Turkey wants to cancel through its actions, the daily reports.

The papers also report that the TC Teachers’ Union KTOS reacted strongly to the drone base.

According to Cyprus Mail, the arrival of a Turkish drone in the north on Monday and the use of Lefkoniko (Gecitkale) airport as a base for operations to aid the search for hydrocarbons off Cyprus, has been both welcomed and criticised by TCs. While ‘officially’ welcomed by the ‘government’, TC media on Tuesday reflected a mixed response to the move by Ankara with plenty of backlash against the decision to allow the airport to be used for military purposes, the paper reported.

Alithia reports that Turkey is militarizing more and more the occupied areas by escalating her reactions at the expense of Cyprus and Greece following the developments in the Eastern Mediterranean and her condemnation by the recent European Council.

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