GCC Press Review 31 May 2020

Front Page Headlines

Sunday Mail

Feud rages in top echelons

President tells audit boss to butt out of politics, is accused of attack on democracy.

  • ‘Crossings must open’
  • Coffeeshop (opinion): Cyprob tries to come out of lockdown, fails miserably


He didn’t find natural gas and escalates threats

Erdogan demands redistribution of Cypriot EEZ, while reaching sea off Crete, up to Gavdos. Israel’s assurances and “hidden diplomacy” with Turkey. Bilateral and trilateral meetings plus the US scheduled. Naive politics and identification with Turkish positions. The peace pipe model and EastMed. The role of foreign companies in the Cypriot EEZ.

  • Libya: Its symbolic value for the neo-Ottomans
  • Analysis: Why Turkey might cause a military incident?
  • EastMed’s importance: The Eastern Mediterranean energy environment during the pandemic
  • The realism of the slave (editorial)
  • Savvas Iacovides (opinion): When will the message be sent that Cyprus is no longer a country for asylum seekers?
  • Christodoulos Giallourides (opinion): Appeasment by the weak, existential threat to state entity
  • Dr. Avgoustinos Avgousti (opinion): Ankara is an enemy, not a friend!
  • Petros Th. Pantelides (opinion): Do we have a President of the Republic or a leader of the Greek Cypriot community?
  • Maria Vasileiadou (opinion): Turkey: Slap or caress?


Towards federation or towards partition

We should be getting ready for negotiations, says Toumazos Tsielepis. The available time until October must be used so that the Greek Cypriot side is fully ready for substantial negotiations. The two leaders need to address the citizens and explain the advantages and specifics of a solution, not act in the opposite direction. It’s one thing to say we will not support Akinci because that would harm him and it’s different to favour some other forces with our stance. The change of the status quo.

  • Spherical (opinion): The emerging Turkey – Israel – Egypt trilateral
  • Natural gas (opinion): EastMed and how Cyprus is affected – by Charles Ellinas
  • Cyprus Problem: “Checkpointisation” and concerns


Throws the bait for an incident

Tayip Erdogan makes extreme moves seeking a Greek reaction. The rapprochment with the US and first indications from the Americans.

  • Seeking a new greco-cypriot axis
  • Stavros Malas (interview): We need new left-wing proposals
  • Alexandra Attalidou (interview): “We we were the ones that spoiled the new generation….”
  • Cyprus Problem at the forefront because of UNFICYP
  • The strategic encirclement of Greece by Turkey


Prospects for a fast recovery

Rhetoric must be toned down and there should be cooperation with Parliament for the benefit of the country, says Finance Minister. Constantinos Petrides: We should not claim a political role or extra-constitutional authority.

  • Migration: Presidential Palace was caught unaware by Nouris


Clash between President – Auditor damaging

  • Society: They foster racism – xenophobia in Cypriot society
  • Analysis: EastMed returns “virtually”
  • Only one new case of COVID-19 detected yesterday


Cunningness from the parties

During the coronavirus crisis they became… “companies” in order to burden the state with their expenses. AKEL and EDEK took the total of state sponshorhip for 2020, burderning the state with the salaries of their employees! DIKO, that also took all the sponsoship in 2020, went ahead with cutting down on staff salaries. DISY: Why should we be part? Did we face damages or are we selling sandwiches and lost income?

  • Christos P. Panagiotides (opinon): Rearrangement of our national strategy a desperate need
  • Achilleas Demetriades (interview): Even Berlin has reunified and we are still thinking about it
  • Analysis: Turkey beyond her borders
  • Message by Anastasiades to our partners: If the EU gives in to Turkey’s blackmail then it will lose its credibility

Main News

Tsielepis: G/C side should be ready for negotiations after October

Negotiations Process, Energy, External Security, CBMs

G/C negotiation team member and AKEL official Toumazos Tsielepis told Politis in an interview that the G/C side needs to take full advantage of the period leading up to the elections in the north in order to prepare for meaningful negotiations.

Tsielepis said that all signs points towards the fact that the international community thinks the current status quo on Cyprus is not acceptable and should change. He points out that if the international community becomes convinced that a federal solution is not feasible, it is very likely that it will start pushing for alternative solutions, including partition.

He also said that it is clear that right after the leadership elections in the T/C community the UN will begin a new attempt to bring about negotiations for a comprehensive solution. Tsielepis pointed out that even if a partitionist candidate wins the T/C elections, he will still have to enter negotiations. However, if a supporter of reunification is elected, then the G/C side needs to be absolutely ready to continue the process from the point it had stopped in Crans Montana.

Tsielepis pointed out that these next few months can be used by the two leaders to improve the climate between the two communities and to explain to the people the parameters of the solution that they are working towards.

Asked to comment on President Anastasiades’s comment that he can’t openly support T/C leader Mustafa Akinci as that would damage his prospects of reelection, Tsielepis said that this is correct but that there is another side to this argument. According to Tsielepis, the behaviour of the G/C side during the past three years can be said to have been beneficial to those T/C forces that promote permanent partition.

Regarding Turkey’s drilling in the Cypriot EEZ, Tsielepis said that Turkey will continue acting in this way as long as there is an absense of negotiations. Tsielepis addeed that Turkey’s intention will really be tested only when it will have to come to the negotiation table.

Tsielepis also commented on a recent statement by Turkish FM Mevlut Cavusoglu that Turkey is ready to reexamine the licensing agreement between TPAO and the “TRNC” in case G/Cs and T/Cs agree on natural gas. Tsielepis said that he believes that this is a message that once the two communities agree Turkey will stop illegal actions in that part of the Cypriot EEZ that it presents as the “TRNC’s” EEZ.

On the other hand, he added, the statement also means that Turkey will continue its provocative actions in maritime areas that it considers as its own. However, he pointed out that Turkey cannot easily continue this behaviour and that if Cypriot communities agree then it will be Turkey’s turn to respect international law.

Turkey and Israel seek rapprochment after pandemic

External Security, Energy, Regional/ International Relations

Kathimerini reports that Turkey and Israel are seeking renewed communication and cooperation over joint interests after the announcement of the formation of a long overdue new government in Israel.

The newspaper cites a statement by Roey Gilad, the charge d’ affaires of the Israeli embassy in Turkey, who recently told a Turkish news site that the normalisation of relations would be in the interest of both countries. At the same time, the newspaper adds, an airplane of Israeli company El Al landed in Istanbul for the first time in ten years.

Gilad pointed out that the two countries do not have to agree on everything but that they should jointly face challenges in the way they today do in Syria. He said that the two countries should discuss the role of Iran in the Syrian civil war.

The newspaper points out that right before the pandemic broke out, there were reports in Turkish and Israeli media that the two countries were considering discussing energy cooperation.

Kathimerini also reports that the most recent report of government-affilitated Turkish think tank SETA lays down future aims of Turkish foreign policy in the Eastern Mediterranean. In the report, SETA points out that the interruption of drillings in the Cypriot EEZ and the fall of oil prices have changed the energy landscape in the region.

SETA mentions that Turkey is planning countersteps to actions such as the creation of the East Med Gas Forum to which the country was not invited. Those steps includes the MoU signed with the UN-recognised Libyan government, as well as entering new international partnerships in order to drill in the area.

Pilot that assisted fighting fire in occupied areas shares experience

CBMs, Internal Security

Kathimerini features a story on the fire-fighting forces of the Forestry Department of the Republic of Cyprus, including statements by Stelios Kotzikas, the first G/C pilot to fly over the dividing line since 1974 and to cooperate with T/C firefighters.

Kotzikas told Kathimerini that he experienced intense feelings “flying over your own land” and that he couldn’t believe it when he was flying over the old Nicosia airport. Kotzikas pointed out that the cooperation with the T/C side was flawless, and that the two sides sent and received instructions and exchanged information.

He added that the T/C repeatedly thanked the G/Cs participating in the mission for their help. “We want to put human pain and natural disasters aside and not let politics get in the way”, Kotzikas said.

Kotzikas pointed out that two of the aircraft of the fire-fighting unit of the Forestry Department will be based in SBA Akrotiri during the summer months, and that this decision is part of the spirit that politics should be left out of cooperation against natural catastrophes.

The fire-fighting unit is spreading out its aircraft all over Cyprus so that there is minimal delays in response time, Kotzikas said, pointing out that two runways are being constructed in Mamari and in west Cyprus.

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