GCC Press Review 27 August 2020

Front Page Headlines


Attack on Al Jazeera and AKEL!

Government’s response made for internal consumption. Interior Minister said the international journalist network had agenda, but did not answer with specific evidence regarding each of the names mentioned in the report, citing respect for personal data. Koushios opened a front with AKEL yesterday saying that “the people will condemn the methods AKEL uses to rise to power”. “Government harms the interests of Cyprus with its policies” AKEL responds.

  • Paphos mayor: He points to father and son
  • FM – EU: To Berlin regarding Turkey
  • USA – Turkey: They clashed over Israel – Hamas


Commission intervention through “Ph”

Swiftly take back passports – Clear message from European Commission in wake of developments. Nouris: The programme will not be ended, all cases mentioned in Al Jazeera’s reports have been checked.

  • Respect to international law a rule: Four-party initiative with joint military exercise
  • Everyone in Berlin today: Turkey on the main menu of the Foreign Ministers
  • Blackmails with Varosha and energy
  • Greece extends to 12 nautical miles only for Ionian sea


Government of limited responsibility!

President called Qatar emir. Committee of three investigates… and exposes Nouris! Interest from Commission and criticism from international organisations.

  • They look for scapegoats
  • German Defence Minister: De-escalation towards a political solution in Eastern Mediterranean
  • Prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced extension of seaboard to 12 miles in Ionian sea

Cyprus Mail

False positives in test mess-up

At least 26 out of 30 negative, a day after testing positive for virus.

  • War games in the East Med
  • Cyprus needs to rebrand so that smears won’t stick say analysts


AKEL operation to rise to power: Code “Remove Nicos Anastasiades”

It started the next day of the 2018 Presidential elections. Government spokesperson: AKEL’s priority since February 2018 was to hit at reputation and credibility of the President, both inside and outside the country, on all levels, with the aim to rise to power.

  • Historic decision to extend territorial waters to 12 miles in Ionian sea: “Greece grows” and Erdogan threatens her with war and destruction – Mitsotakis: “Greece grows, others have said it but we acted on it”
  • Sham wedding blackmail: Exchange of wanted with occupied areas helped solve a murder
  • Occupied areas: Another poll sees Akinci winning “presidential” elections
  • Accusations by Nouris: Planned propaganda by Al Jazeera

Main News

International calls for de-escalation in East Mediterranean

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


The dailies report that Cyprus is taking part in military exercises with France, Italy and Greece in the Eastern Mediterranean which started on Wednesday and will end on Friday. The Cypriot Defence Ministry said in an announcement that military exercise “Evnomia” would take place in the seas south of Cyprus.

French Defence Minister Florence Parly wrote on Twitter that France participates in a joint military exercise with Greece, Italy and Cyprus while tensions rise in the Eastern Mediterranean. She pointed out that respect towards international law should be a priority and not the exception, and added that France’s priority is dialogue, cooperation and diplomacy in the region.

NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg told journalists that he is in constant communication with Ankara and Athens. CNA reports that the statements were made upon Stoltenberg’s arrival to the unofficial meeting of the EU’s Defence Ministers in Berlin. Stoltenberg welcomed Germany’s efforts to mediate between the two countries.

Cypriot Defence Minister told his counterparts that the EU needs to respond to Turkey’s actions and suggested that there be an increased presence of EU member states in the region.

In a statement after the meeting, German Defence minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said that Greco-Turkish tensions in the region affect the EU and the functioning of NATO, and that is why the defence ministers agreed that cooperation is urgently needed. Kramp said that her Greek and Cypriot counterparts informed their colleagues that the situation is difficult and could escalate dangerously. She pointed out that coordinated de-escalation is necessary for negotiations to begin.

The EU’s Foreign Ministers were also due to meet on Thursday in order to discuss the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean, EU-Turkish relations, the latest developments in Belarus and the EU’s relations with Russia.

EU High Representative for foreign affairs, Josep Borrell, said that the purpose of the meeting will not be to decide on sanctions, and that he will be presenting a series of options, and pointed out that Germany’s mediation effort is still ongoing.

Dailies also reports on statements made late on Tuesday by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, after his meeting with German FM Heiko Maas. Cavusoglu said that if Greece continues to take wrong steps in the region then Turkey will respond with determination, and accused Greece and the G/Cs of increasing tensions. He repeated that Turkey is ready to enter into dialogue but does not accept preconditions.

Meanwhile, US deputy secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs Philip Reeker told the Cyprus News Agency that Ankara’s behaviour in the Eastern Mediterranean undermines the unity of NATO and opposes American priorities in the region. Reeker pointed out that the US has repeatedly told Turkey that actions such as flights of military aircraft over Greece, drilling in Cypriot waters and the signing of the memorandum with Libya are provocative and not helpful actions.

He said that US policy for the Eastern Mediterranean is to push for de-escalation, and said the US is particularly concerned regarding tensions between Greece and Turkey.

Government spokesperson Kyriakos Koushios said that Reeker’s statements were a strong message towards Turkey, focusing on the US official’s reference to Turkey’s acts being provocative and unhelpful.

In another development, Greek prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced on Wednesday that Greece intends to extend its seaboard to 12 nautical miles. Mitsotakis said during a discussion in the Greek parliament that his government intends to submit the legal framework to the body. He pointed out that in this way Greece is exercising a sovereign right accorded by international law.

Mitsotakis also said that Greece will in the future exercise its rights in other areas with respect to international law. He said that the Foreign Minister had already informed his counterparts in Italy and Albania.

Government attacks Al Jazeera and AKEL over passport scandal

Alithia, Cyprus Mail, Haravgi, Phileleftheros, Politis
Economy, Regional/ International Relations, Migration & Citizenship, EU Matters


Government minister Nicos Nouris gave a press conference on Wednesday in order to respond to accusations detailed in Al Jazeera’s reports. The press conference focused largely on accusations that Al Jazeera is deliberately trying to damage Cyprus and that the network is “based in a country known for its pro-Turkish positions”.

Nouris said that the government had checked 30 problematic cases as well as all applications since 2018. He added that three citizenships were recently revoked by the Council of Ministers. He insisted that nothing suspicious had been found regarding cases mentioned in Al Jazeera’s reporting at the time of application.

Nouris also said that he had been asked by the European Commissioner for justice whether Cyprus was ready to end the citizenship-through-investment scheme. He said that the government’s response was that it is a sovereign state, which respects its partners and suggestions by Moneyval, but that the programme is absolutely safe since the changes enacted in 2019.

Phileleftheros cites a statement by a representative of the Commission, who told the newspaper that the EU expects to see Cyprus quickly working through all previous applications in order to apply the policy of recalling citizenship now that it is an option. The representative of the Commission said that the EU expects this process to be swift and thorough.

During the same press conference, government spokesperson Kyriakos Koushios confirmed reports that President Anastasiades did call the Emir of Qatar when Cyprus was informed that Al Jazeera was conducting an investigation.

Koushios also accused AKEL of criticising the President with the aim to rise to power, and pointed out that AKEL had accused the government also after Crans Montana.

AKEL also responded to statements related to the Cyprus Problem made by the government spokesperson during Wednesday’s press conference. AKEL spokesperson Stephanos Stephanou said that the government cannot explain how after Crans Montana the UN and the EU were praising Turkey’s role in the negotiations. He added that the government has made AKEL a scapegoat.

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.

Presidency examines coronavirus measures for Rizokarpaso schools

Haravgi, Phileleftheros, Politis
Human Rights, CBMs


The measures that need to be taken on behalf of the RoC in order to protect students in the enclaved G/C schools in Rizokarpaso from the spread of the coronavirus were discussed in a meeting in the Presidential Palace, the dailies report.

The discussion also dealt with the schools’ needs for computers and other materials, including protective equipment such as masks. According to a government announcement, the Ministries for Education and Foreign Affairs are in communication with the UN to prevent the emergence of problems that had been caused in the past by the T/C side regarding the staffing of the school and the provision of the school with books and other materials.

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