GCC Press Review 30 July 2020

Front Page Headlines


Hat-trick of mishaps by (House President Demetris) Syllouris

The president and the attorney-general pointed out three problematic points (as regards the Georghadjis list on non-performing loans of politically exposed persons).

  • Buffer fringe: 7th festival of performing arts
  • Turkey: Operation to silence social media


Outbreak with 13 cases

Active coronavirus chains: Yachts, private jets, trips to Greece and non-observation of measures. Scientists will go to the Presidential Palace again tomorrow. They will brief the president on the latest situation.

  • The Oruc Reis is one thing, the Barbaros is another – Greece cannot and must not substitute the RoC in the exercise of its sovereign rights and sovereignty, said Greek FM Nikos Dendias making a distinction between Turkish provocations in the Cypriot EEZ and the Oruc Reis case.
  • Turkey is seeking explanations from the UN
  • Hagia Sophia is unrecognisable, they concealed its character


OKYPY’s operation is problematic

AKEL leader heavily criticised OKYPY’s (state health services organisation) ineffectiveness that heightens problems in hospitals. Andros Kyprianou is not satisfied by the way the organisation operates which leads to problems in GESY’s implementation. At the same time he called on competent authorities to apply the GESY law as is.

  • AKEL: Time is running out (on the Cyprus problem)

Cyprus Mail

Concerns over spike in cases

Thousands more tests rolled out minister calls meeting to assess measures.


Red alert

Thirteen new cases yesterday, a transmission chain also in Nicosia. Extraordinary meeting today of the epidemiological team and the ministry of health, while President Anastasiades will be briefed tomorrow. Extraordinary measures are not ruled out, including bringing back the use of mask in some cases. In Limassol, 5,000 tests started yesterday, to the wider public and people working in mass gathering places.

  • Government: A series of actions are underway at various levels over Barbaros
  • The Egyptian ‘Rabia’: What does Erdogan’s four-finger salutation mean?

Main News

Nicosia calls on EU for equal treatment of all its members

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


Government said it is addressing Turkey’s latest announcement it would send seismic vessel Barbaros in Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) but Nicosia is not happy by the way the EU deals with the matter compared to the way it reacted when Ankara had done the same in Greece, the dailies report.

The dailies report that Nicosia has issued a counter Navtex to the one by Turkey that reserves areas covering Cyprus’ offshore blocks 2 and 3 and a small part of block 13.

They also cite deputy government spokesman Panayiotis Sentonas saying that Nicosia has launched a series of actions at various levels as regards the latest, unacceptable provocation by Turkey.

Sentonas, asked whether the EU appeared to have a different approach when it came to issues between Greece and Turkey and Cyprus and Turkey and whether this was a matter of concern, said it certainly was.

He added that this was the reason President Nicos Anastasiades has emphasised during all his contacts the need for a more decisive EU stand vis-à-vis Turkish provocations “because we believe that they are also provocations against the EU.”

“We believe that the EU of which Cyprus is a member state needs to formulate a more decisive and effective position in the case of Cyprus as well,” he said.

Sentonas said Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides has already spoken again to his Greek counterpart Nikos Dendias, with EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell and with the German EU presidency.

In the meantime, Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said it Ankara could pause energy exploration operations in the Eastern Mediterranean, within Greece’s maritime area, pending talks with Athens. Kalin said Erdogan had requested the move as a constructive approach to negotiations.

Kalin said Ankara was ready to discuss all issues such as the Aegean continental shelf, islands, airspace, research and screening efforts and the Eastern Mediterranean along with other bilateral matters with Greece without any preconditions.

On Cyprus, he said this was a regional dispute and that GCs and TCs should start negotiations for the disputed territories.

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said there was as yet no procedure for starting a dialogue, only discussions about it. He said Athens was open to such a dialogue but pointed out that Turkey does not respect international law. He said the only difference between Greece and Turkey was the issue of the continental shelf and the overlying sea zones and that Athens has long said that this is the difference it is willing to discuss. If they reach no agreement, Greece would take to the Hague court.

On Cyprus, Dendias said Turkey’s actions were unacceptable and that Greece would back Cyprus when Nicosia raises the latest Turkish provocations at EU level.

He also said that the Republic of Cyprus (RoC) is an independent state and that Greece has no right to substitute the RoC as regards the exercise of its sovereign rights and sovereignty. He said both Christodoulides and Anastasiades were very competent and experienced and that Athens would continue to support the RoC in its effort to solve the Cyprus problem and tackle Turkish provocations.

Phileleftheros and Politis also cite the Greek prime minister’s consultant on national security issues, Alexandros Diakopoulos, saying that the situation in Cyprus is not the same like the case of the Oruc Reis seismic vessel that was to be sent by Turkey off Greece for exploratory activities.

Cyprus is an independent, sovereign state whose sovereign rights are also blatantly being violated by Turkey’s pirate-like actions, but in Cyprus’ case, it was not the first time something like this happened, he said, according to the dailies.

The dailies also cite parties’ reactions.

Main opposition AKEL spokesman Stefanos Stefanou said that the new Navtex, despite Turkey’s détente with Greece made it clear that Turkey’s aggression and illegal activity in the Eastern Mediterranean will not be stopped unless there is a final and real solution to the region’s problems.

Stefanou said the government needed to claim at EU level a policy, making use also of the sanctions option, that will pave the way for the just and proper solution of the problems caused by Turkey.

The solution of the Cyprus problem based on the agreed framework is the only way to true peace and security in Cyprus, he said.

DIKO called for a strong Greece-Cyprus front but also for unity within Cyprus against the threat posed by Turkey in the region.

The Solidarity Movement was disturbed by Athens’ statement that the Oruc Reis case was not the same as that of Barbaros. Greece, the party said, except its legal obligations as guarantor power for the RoC’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, has also moral and historic responsibilities as the global centre of Hellenism.

Cyprus Mail reports that Cyprus was sidelined by moves towards Greek-Turkish talks. The daily reports that just as the possibility of the Greek-Turkish détente coming into play, Ankara, muscle-flexing towards Cyprus, issued a new Navtex for seismic exploration by the Barbaros Hayrettin Pasa in the island’s EEZ, east of Famagusta. This was a clear signal to Nicosia that Ankara was only interested in resolving issues with Greece, and at the behest of Germany’s Merkel and the EU, which Cyprus, with the support of France, has been pressing to take stronger measures against Turkey for its continued violation of the EEZ, the paper reported.

Politis reports the Presidential Palace seems unhappy, mainly by the different stand, reaction and intervention by the EU partners as regards Turkish provocations against Greece compared to the situation in Cyprus.

August, however, is expected to be a month of developments as regards the situation in the region and dealing with Turkish provocations, the daily reported.

Sentonas (RoC deputy gov spokesman)
Nicosia is concerned by the double standards as regards its EU partners’ reactions on Turkey’s provocations against Greece compared to their stance on Cyprus & that is why Cyprus has been calling for a more decisive stand by the bloc vis-à-vis Turkish provocations.
>> The EU needs to formulate a more decisive and effective position in the case of Cyprus just as it has done for Greece.

Kalin (Erdogan’s spokesman)
Ankara is willing to dialogue with Athens about all issues they have differences on but in the case of Cyprus, it is the GCs & TCs that need to figure things out on the issue of natural gas.

Dendias (Greece’s FM)
Athens is willing to discuss with Ankara their only difference, that of the continental shelf & the overlying sea zones. If no agreement is reached, Greece will seek a solution through the Hague court.
>> Cyprus is more than capable of dealing with its own issues on its own & does not need Athens standing in for Nicosia. Greece supports Cyprus in its efforts to solve the Cyprob & tackle Turkish provocations.

Diakopoulos (Greek PM’s national security consultant)
The situation in Cyprus is not the same like the case of Greece, since, despite that the island’s sovereign rights are also being blatantly violated by Turkey, it is not the first time Ankara sends its vessels in the Cypriot EEZ unlike in the case of Greece.

Stefanou (AKEL)
Turkey’s aggression and illegal activity in the East Med will not be stopped unless there is a final &  real solution to the region’s problems.
>> Calls on the government to claim an EU policy, making use also of the sanctions option, to help pave the way for the just & proper solution of the problems caused by Turkey.
>> The Cyprob solution based on the agreed framework is the only way to true peace and security on the island.

Wants a strong Greece-Cyprus front & internal unity against the threat posed by Turkey in the region.

Solidarity Movement
Disgruntled by Greece’s position that Turkish provocations in Greek EEZ is not the same thing as provocations in the Cypriot EEZ.
>> Greece, as guarantor power has legal obligations to ensure the RoC’s independence, sovereignty & territorial integrity but has also moral and historic responsibilities as the global centre of Hellenism.

Famagusta municipality calls for pressure from international community on Turkey

Alithia, Haravgi, Phileleftheros
External Security, Human Rights, Territory, Negotiations Process


Haravgi and Alithia report that the Famagusta municipality called on the international community, UN and the five permanent members of the Security Council to exert pressure on Ankara to comply with international law.

The municipality, in a written statement, expresses its satisfaction for the mandate for the renewal of UNFICYP’s mandate which also refers to resolutions 550 and 789 on Famagusta, “despite the efforts by the usual suspects  to leave this reference out of the initial text.”

The resolution calls on the Turkish Cypriot side and Turkish forces to restore in Strovilia the military status quo which existed there prior to 30 June 2000, recalls the status of Varosha as set out in relevant resolutions, including resolutions 550 (1984) and 789 (1992), and reaffirms that UNFICYP’s freedom of movement should be respected, the dailies recall.

The papers also report that Turkey and the TC so-called ‘foreign ministry’ expressed discontent by the resolution.

Phileleftheros reports that DIKO warned of serious risks from the inclusion in the resolution of the provision on direct cooperation on military issues.

The party said that the policy of appeasement the government has been following, not only has encouraged Turkey and her pawns in the occupied areas, but it also sends the wrong messages to the UN and the international community.

AKEL said that the resolution confirms what it has being saying all along: that time is running out that after elections in the north efforts for a solution will escalate and everyone must assume their responsibilities.

The party called on the president to focus on the strong messages of the resolution and adopt a positive rhetoric and state his readiness for substantive negotiations based on the Guterres Framework.

AKEL found as a negative point the fact that the resolution does not condemn Turkish machinations on Varosha or provocations in the Cypriot EEZ, the paper reported.

Buffer Fringe festival takes place despite Covid-19 restrictions

Human Rights


The daily reports that the 7th  Buffer Fringe Performing Arts Festival will take place, despite the adverse conditions, in online form in September 2020, and will end with live performances in December.

This year’s theme is ‘ Displacement’ through various aspects, from the climate crisis to identity, from fashion to immigration, always in the shadow of COVID-19 and the restrictions on mobility and change.

Recognising the need for more support for the art community, this year’s Festival program has changed to adapt to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the daily, the 2020 Buffer Fringe  takes place in three cities of Cyprus.

It will travel to Famagusta and Limassol, through its collaboration with Mağusa Kale Pasajı and the Mitos Performing Arts Center respectively. The programmes will present the works of local artists, the methodologies of their creation, but also the ‘relationship’ between the two cities.

The main part of the festival will take place in Nicosia (with local and international participation), and will include performances and artistic installations that emerged through the call for applications.

More than 200 applications were submitted for this year’s festival, 25% of which were from  local artists (400% increase compared to 2019). In general, artists from more than 45 countries submitted applications for this year’s festival, with great ideas and suggestions. The selection of participants resulted in performances serving various artistic sectors (including interactive installations) from seven countries, such as Cyprus, Ireland, India, Australia, Switzerland, USA and others, the daily reports.

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