GCC Press Review 31 Oct 2020

Front Page Headlines


United by the same fate and destiny

Samos and Izmir hit by 6.7 Richter scale earthquake – Two children dead in Samos, 12 dead in Izmir. Once more power of nature shows how common the fate of neighbouring countries is and how pain and disaster share the same language and have the same… God. Enceladus spread death on the coast of Asia Minor, hundreds were wounded, damage was extensive, many homeless, and also for the first time a small tsunami in the Aegean. Call by K. Mitsotakis to Erdogan broke the ice in relations of two leaders, but highlighted once more Erdogan’s arrogance when he rejected help from Greece.

  • Syllouris – Giovannis – Pittadjis: Interrogations without wine over Al Jazeera video
  • Varosha: With eyes turned to November 15th
  • President on corruption: Self-criticism but responsibility… elsewhere
  • 166 new cases: Measures did not help


Heading to new restrictions

Health Minister sees scientists on Monday morning and then goes to Cabinet for decisions. Limassol, Paphos measures to be extended everywhere – Measures for weddings and social events.

  • They investigate corruption and money laundering offences: The “5” asked for the oath submitted by Police for issuance of search warrants
  • Tatar inflammatory before Tuesday meeting
  • They fight over the Famagusta spoils
  • Deep mourning for the earthquake in Samos and Izmir


The “immaculate” one will… wipe out corruption!

New pounding by Commission over “golden” passports. Attempt to handle corruption with… a communication strategy. President also washes his hands of Ierokipia.

  • Strong earthquake with dead, missing and damage
  • A storm of reactions for TOKI (Housing Development Administration of Turkey) in Varosha

Cyprus Mail

Killer quake in the Aegean

19 killed in Izmir, buildings collapse. Over 700 injured. Two teens die on Greek island of Samos. Tidal waves send flood of debris inland.

  • Cyprus – President: people right to be angry over corruption


They study extreme scenarios

Coronavirus: Government preparing for a large increase in cases. 166 cases yesterday in Cyprus – Shock in Greece by new record of 1,690 cases. Health Ministry has studied also possibility of commandeering a private hospital as a reference hospital in an extreme case scenario.

  • New inflammatory statements just before meeting with Anastasiades: Tatar blows it all up in the air – “Whether they recognise us or not, we are a separate ‘state’, we have a coastline and rights in the Eastern Mediterranean”
  • Nicos Anastasiades: Announces measures to change image of corruption
  • Shock and chaos from Richters: Two dead teenagers in Samos – 12 dead in Izmir
  • They went through interrogation: Pittadjis, Giovannis, Syllouris and daughter

Main News

Turkish housing organisation’s Varosha involvement causes concern

Alithia, Haravgi, Phileleftheros, Politis
Negotiations Process, Governance & Power Sharing, Territory, Property, Energy, Regional/ International Relations


Both G/C experts and T/C associations reacted to T/C leader Ersin Tatar’s visit to Varosha accompanied by representatives of the Housing Development Administration of Turkey (TOKI) and the municipality of the Turkish city of Konya.

Legal expert Achilleas Demetriades told the Cyprus News Agency that the presence of TOKI representatives in Varosha should cause concern. Demetriades pointed out that the prospects of the return of Varosha as laid out in solution plans and Security Council resolutions are changing as far as the T/C side is concerned.

He explained that TOKI is an organisation similar to the Cypriot Housing Finance Corporation, but that it has greater powers and scope of activities. Demetriades pointed out that the real question is whether the housing TOKI will build will be within the fenced off city or whether they will be built just outside in areas that are simply defined as occupied and are not protected by UN resolutions.

The expert also pointed out that the precise way in which the T/C side opened the Varosha beachfront involved only properties of the Cypriot state and no G/C private property.

Haravgi reports that the Famagusta Municipality is seeking to meet President Anastasiades before his meeting with T/C leader Ersin Tatar on Tuesday. Famagusta mayor Simos Ioannou told the Cyprus News Agency that the municipality will begin a campaign through the media and social media, also in Turkish addressing the T/Cs. He said that TV spots will start being shown before Turkish President Erdogan’s visit to Varosha.

Ioannou pointed out that when Erdogan is concerned about cartoons published in France, Famagustans are even more concerned when the President of another country comes for a picnic in Varosha (referring to a statement made by the Turkish President). Ioannou pointed out that a journalist wrote in YeniDuzen, the area is not his but was taken over through war.

Ioannou also said that representatives of the municipality met with the ambassadors of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council last week. However, he added that the municipality has limited means to stop Turkey’s plans and that it is the government that has to convince the UN and the EU.

He also called Famagustans to not return under T/C administration as that would be in contravention of UN resolutions. Ioannou noted that he cannot ban anyone from returning under T/C administration if negotiations collapse, but that it is within the municipality’s remit to advise its constituents.

The newspapers also write about reactions in the north on TOKI’s involvement in Varosha, as reported in the T/C media. The chamber of T/C civil engineers said in a written statement that the “government” is not respecting its own institutions while asking the people to respect it. The announcement asks when the decision was taken to involve the Konya Municipality and TOKI at a moment when the north is without a “government” due to Tatar’s election.

The head of the association of T/C construction companies, Cafer Gurcafer expressed the displeasure of his sector and that it is T/C business and associations that would be involved in Varosha. He said that TOKI cannot take over a project in Cyprus and that it is possible that it would participate only when it comes to funds.

The dailies extensively report on an interview Tatar gave to Voice of America. Tatar said that he wishes to negotiate with the G/C side by insisting on a two-state solution and the recognition of the “TRNC”. On natural gas he said that whether the north is recognised or not, it still has a coastline and therefore has rights in the Eastern Mediterranean.

He also reiterated his position that the prospect of a federal solution was rejected by the G/C side in Crans Montana, despite the good will shown by the T/C side and the flexibility shown by Turkey.

In a statement over the prospect of a restart of negotiations AKEL called on the government to remain clear and consistent on the goal of achieving a bizonal, bicommunal solution with political equality, Haravgi reports.

Opposition party spokesperson Stefanos Stefanou noted that UN parameters and UN Security Council resolutions define what constitutes a return to negotiations as well as the solution model pursued, and points out that this is particularly important given Tatar and Turkish President Erdogan’s statements against federation and in favour of a two-state solution.

Stephanou also pointed out that the G/C side should insist that negotiations restart from where they were interrupted in Crans Montana and be based on the Guterres Framework and existing convergences.

Regarding Varosha, Stephanou said a return to negotiations from where they were left off in Crans Montana would mean that the T/C side would have to bring back the map that it had submitted in Geneva, and which was withdrawn after President Anastasiades withdrew his own proposal. This map includes the return of Varosha, among other areas, Stephanou noted, pointing out that the T/C side would thus be exposed for its actions in the area.

The dailies also report that UNSG Antonio Guterres sent a letter to Tatar to congratulate him on his election as T/C leader, citing the media in the north.

Also, European Council President Charles Michel said after a teleconference of the EU’s member state leaders on the coronavirus, that the 27 member states condemn unilateral moves by Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean and added that the Council will return to the issue in December. He said that the EU agreed to prepare for a positive and negative agenda regarding Turkey, and that so far Turkey has been selecting the negative path.

Politis also reports on the contest to succeed Tatar in the leadership of the National Unity Party (UBP) and also potentially the “prime minister” seat after his election as T/C leader. The newspaper reports that several of the candidates believe that the new leader of UBP should move forward to form a “government” in order to avoid early elections for the T/C assembly.

Meanwhile, an interview by former Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias on CyBC caused a new round of controversy surrounding the end of the negotiations in Crans Montana in 2017

In another development, Haravgi reports that a group of AKEL officials, headed by secretary general Andros Kyprianou, will meet with Greek prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Monday. The AKEL representatives will also meet Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou, Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias, majority opposition SYRIZA president Alexis Tsipras and communist party KKE secretary general Dimitris Koutsoumbas.

Opening of Kokkina passage once more off the bicommunal agenda

CBMs, Human Rights, Territory


Phileleftheros reports that the locals in the area of Tylliria are disappointed due to the diminished possibility of the opening of a passageway through the T/C exclave of Kokkina that would ease travel in the area.

The newspaper notes that, despite the assurances given to a bicommunal committee that has been set up for this purpose (it is not clarified whether the journalist is referring to the Technical Committee on checkpoints), the negative developments brought about due to the pandemic on both sides as well as the hardening of the stance of the T/C side after Ersin Tatar’s election, the Kokkina issue seems to be off the agenda once again.

Phileleftheros also reports that the Foreign Ministry of the RoC agrees that opening a passageway for cars through the Kokkina exclave would benefit the region as it would ease the connections between the cities of Nicosia and Paphos, facilitate trade and help attract tourism.

The issue has been repeatedly brought by the Foreign Ministry to UNFICYP, and President Anastasiades has included the issue in his list of proposals for confidence-building measures. However, Phileleftheros adds, these efforts are now blocked by the epidemiological situation and the intransigent stance of the new T/C leadership.

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