GCC Press Review 27 Nov 2020

Front Page Headlines


A maze of entanglement for Cypra-state treasurer

(Former Interior Minister Socratis) Hasikos: The Audit Office was an ambassador of Cypra’s interests through Hasapopoulos. State attorney Rena Papaetis was sufficiently revealing on the withdrawal of the cheque from a state account to the benefit of Rea Georgiou’s husband. “The facts caught us by surprise. We found it very serious, it was very weird and unprecedented…” The state treasurer, after tooting her own horn, reported an unprecedented campaign against her, while she did not hesitate to undermine the MPs’ intelligence by saying that she found the court order about the withdrawal of the cheque in her correspondence. The subordinate of the state treasurer who gave instructions for the withdrawal of the cheque from the Republic’s bank account, claimed that he had kept Rea Georgiou informed of all his actions.

  • Foul by (Russian Ambassador) Osadchiy: Attack on the Patriarch over the Holy Synod’s decision (on the Ukrainian church)
  • Decisions today: There is no general lockdown on the cards
  • Parliamentary election-AKEL: Full speed ahead on the election tickets


SOS in hospitals

The pandemic is putting serious pressure on the health system and the assessments are raising fears. Cabinet decides today on new measures.

  • France leads the way for sanctions (on Turkey) – Pressure also from the European Parliament.


A visible hand… was protecting Cypra

Favourable treatment of the Cypra slaughterhouse mainly in terms of its debts for veterinary fees to the Republic which at some stage had accumulated to €1m. Political responsibilities of the government also for the dominant monopoly position acquired by the Cypra slaughterhouse after the closure of Kofinou (slaughterhouse).

  • Calls on Turkey, urge for talks
  • New measures are expected until the beginning of 2021 – All the workload has fallen on state hospitals, mainly the accident & emergency departments. A heavy price for the elderly. The virus struck at least 10 nursing homes.

Cyprus Mail

Hospitals feel pressure rising

Authorities mull revised backup plan. Inpatient numbers reach 109. One more death, 220 new cases.


Sinful path

Hot revelations by Socratis Hasikos over the closure of the Kofinou slaughterhouse and Cypra’s monopoly. The former minister left (Auditor-general) Odysseas Michaelides and Rea Georgiou exposed.

  • European Parliament: Strong message to the leaders of the ‘27’ on Turkey
  • Parliament: €11,687,352 for the funding of political parties in 2021

Main News

Paris, EP resolution call for sanctions on Turkey

Alithia, Cyprus Mail, Haravgi, Phileleftheros, Politis
EU Matters, Negotiations Process, Regional/International Relations, Territory, Property


Pressure is mounting for sanctions on Turkey ahead of the European Council next month with Paris leading the way while the European Parliament is calling on Ankara to reverse its unilateral actions in Varosha, the dailies report.

Cyprus Mail and Phileleftheros, citing statements by officials and diplomats to Reuters, report that France is leading a push for EU sanctions on Turkey next month to follow through on a threat made by the bloc in October, but has yet to win support from EU governments beyond Greece and Cyprus.

Paris says Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has not heeded EU leaders’ warnings on October 1 to back down in a dispute over gas exploration in the Mediterranean or face consequences.

“Turkey knows what it needs to do,” France’s Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told a French parliamentary hearing this week. “Confrontation or collaboration, it’s up to them.”

No detailed sanctions have been drawn up by France, but diplomats say any measures would hit areas of Turkey’s economy aimed at limiting Turkish hydrocarbon exploration, likely in shipping, banking and energy.

Erdogan has called for a boycott of French goods, which one EU diplomat said did not bode well for deeper trade relations.

“However, Turkey is a key partner in many areas, so there’s no consensus in the Council (of EU governments). It is still too early,” another EU diplomat told Reuters. The news agency also reported that Paris is also at odds with Turkey over the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict as it accused Ankara of fuelling the crisis in the Caucasus, a charge it rejects.

Cyprus Mail also reports that a new spat between Germany and Turkey over the interception of a Turkish vessel in the Mediterranean this week has worsened already deteriorating EU-Turkey ties. “I think now there’s a common understanding that there will be sanctions. The question is what the market will bear,” a senior EU diplomat told Reuters, according to the Cyprus Mail.

All dailies report that the European Parliament adopted with 631 in favour, three against and 59 abstentions a non-binding resolution on the escalation of tensions in Varosha following Turkey’s illegal actions and the urgent need to resume talks.”

The resolution “condemns Turkey’s illegal activities at Varosha”, calls on the Turkish government “to reverse this decision and avoid unilateral action”, calls on the European Council “to maintain its unified position against its unilateral and illegal actions” and “to take action and impose severe sanctions in response to Turkey’s illegal actions.” It also recalls that further sanctions “can only be avoided through dialogue, sincere cooperation and concrete progress on the ground” and calls for the resumption of talks for the reunification of Cyprus under the auspices of the UN Secretary-General.

It also calls on Turkey to withdraw its troops from Cyprus, to transfer the Varosha area to its lawful inhabitants under the temporary administration of the UN in accordance with UNSC Resolution 550 (1984), and to refrain from any actions altering the demographic balance on the island through a policy of illegal settlements. It also stresses the need for the EU acquis to be implemented across the entire island, following the solution of the Cyprus problem.

The resolution underlines the UNSG’s call for the resumption of negotiations from where they were left off at Crans-Montana in 2017 and stresses that this should be done on the basis of the Joint Declaration of the two leaders of 11 February 2014, the UN Secretary-General’s Six Points Framework of 30 June 2017 and the convergences achieved by the end of the conference. It regrets that the highest Turkish authorities have endorsed the two-state solution and urges Turkey to commit concretely to the UNSG’s call.

It reiterates its support for a fair, comprehensive and viable settlement on the basis of a bi-communal, bi-zonal federation with a single international legal personality, single sovereignty and single citizenship, and with political equality between the two communities.

The EP expresses its concern that the illegal ‘opening’ of Varosha aims at changing the status of property ownership in the area, and urges Turkey to refrain from illegally settling Varosha with people other than its lawful inhabitants or calling for the lawful inhabitants to return to their properties under conditions of military occupation.

Direct talks under the auspices of the UN on the agreed basis remain the only option for reaching a solution that reunites the island and its people, it said, adding that this would normalise relations between Cyprus and Turkey, improved prospects for the delimitation of the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) between Cyprus and Turkey, and the enhancement of EU-Turkey relations.

The EP stands by both the TC and GC communities in their quest for peace and stability and calls on the Commission to promptly implement the second Annual Action Programme for aid to the Turkish Cypriot community, aimed at supporting projects that foster reconciliation and improve infrastructure, environmental protection and economic development; calls, in particular, for continued and increased support for civil society in both the Turkish and the Greek Cypriot communities, both through the EU Aid Programme and more structurally as part of the new multiannual financial framework, in particular through the Citizens, Equality, Rights and Values Programme.

MEPs also called on the EU and its member states to play a more active role in bringing negotiations under UN auspices to a successful conclusion, including by appointing a representative to the UN good offices mission, and to coordinate their efforts with the European Parliament to convince Turkey to reverse its illegal activities in Varosha.

The EP resolution also calls on the UN mission in Cyprus to step up efforts to monitor developments in Varosha.

According to Haravgi, Cyprus succeeded in seeing a very strong resolution by the EP yesterday thanks to the persistence of AKEL and the European United Left/Nordic Green Left which has been calling for the past three plenary sessions to discuss not only the illegal opening of Varosha but also the need for a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem through talks and in particular by continuing the talks from there they left off in Crans-Montana.

Phileleftheros reports that both ruling DISY and the Greek government welcomed the resolution and especially the wide acceptance of an amendment tabled by DISY MEPs Lefteris Christoforou and Loucas Fourlas and Nea Dimokratia MEP Vangelis Meimarakis. All three are members of the European People’s Party (EPP).

Alithia reports that the resolution was a slap to the expansionist policy of Erdogan and TC leader Ersin Tatar. The daily also reported that the three who rejected the resolution were far-right MEPs, one from Czechia, one from the Netherlands and Ioannis Lagos, member of the criminal organisation Golden Dawn. Among the 59 MEPs who abstained from voting were the entire EPP group from Hungary, and other Turcophiles, Turkish-raised or dependent on the Turkish state, the paper reported.

European Parliament
Condemns Turkey’s illegal activities in Varosha & calls on Ankara to reverse this decision and avoid unilateral action.
>> Calls on the EUCO to maintain its unified position against Ankara’s illegal actions & impose severe sanctions. If Ankara wants to avoid further sanctions it must engage in dialogue & sincere cooperation and show concrete progress on the ground.
>> Calls for resumption of talks under the auspices of the UNSG for the reunification of Cyprus in a BBF & on the EU to actively contribute in the process.
>> Calls on Turkey to withdraw its troops from Cyprus, transfer the Varosha area to its lawful inhabitants & stop calling on the lawful inhabitants to return to their properties under conditions of military occupation.
>> A Cyprob solution would normalise relations between Cyprus and Turkey, improve prospects for the delimitation of their EEZ, & enhance of EU-Turkey relations.
>> Stands by both the TCs & GCs in their quest for peace and stability & calls for EU aid to the TCs but also civil society in both sides to support projects that foster reconciliation and improve infrastructure, environmental protection and economic development.
>> Calls on UNFICYP to step up efforts to monitor developments in Varosha.

‘Buffer zone revival could also help bring two communities closer’

Territory, Human Rights, CBMs, Negotiations Process, EU Matters


The paper hosts an article by Dherynia mayor Andros Karayiannis on the need to revive the buffer zone, which is important to communities along the dividing line but can also boost cooperation between the two sides.

The mayor said that Cyprus could utilise EU funds from the new financial framework 2021-2027, aimed to support remote, isolated and underdeveloped areas, for the development and revitalisation of the buffer zone but also for the promotion of local and national initiatives.

He argued that semi-occupied Dherynia is in desperate need of housing units since it does not have enough residential areas. The municipality invests in the need to house young couples and after several efforts and consultations with the interior ministry, the whole of Dherynia has been designated as a remote area. This allows for the utilisation of funds and grants through the new, simplified and targeted housing plan for remote areas. This plan, which concerns the acquisition of a first home, covers a sponsorship of €20,000 to €40,000. In this context, he said, the Municipality of Dherynia has acknowledged the need to utilise the buffer zone.

He said that the buffer zone is the area granted by the Republic of Cyprus to the United Nations Peacekeeping Force to fulfil its mandate as set out in Resolution 186 of 1964. “The buffer zone area can be used for residential, sports, cultural, agricultural and investment purposes,” he said. “In order to revive the ‘dead zone’, we must stimulate growth, both within and near it.”

The mayor also said that the buffer zone can be the beginning of promoting confidence-building, mutual aid, and solidarity measures between the two communities. It can also be, despite the difficult circumstances, the first step to transform it from a grey to a living zone, an area where the two communities will be active, create and coexist until the final resolution of the Cyprus issue. In addition, he said, the revitalisation of the buffer zone can bring the two communities closer, which is a goal of both the United Nations and foreign delegations in Cyprus.

“Taking advantage of the opportunity given to us to enter the buffer zone, mainly for agricultural purposes, we hope that we will be allowed residential development, thus sending the message that the dead zone comes to life and brings us closer to our occupied land and sea.”

He argued that areas along the buffer zone experience daily the pain of being a refugee, but also the difficulties of their inhabitants. “But we never stop showing the desired path that the two leaders should take to resume dialogue and negotiations. This road should be neither a one-way street nor a road of no return. It should be the road, which as a first step will give life to the buffer zone and will pave the way to the reunification of the island.”

A vision and will is what’s needed to reach the final destination and avoid the tragic impasse, he said.

‘Russian intervention in Cyprus’ ecclesiastical matters’

Human Rights, Regional/International Relations


The daily reports that Russian Ambassador to Cyprus Stanislav Osadchiy, after given the opportunity yesterday by two state media, CyBC and the Cyprus News Agency, attacked Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, and intervened in a purely ecclesiastical matter.

During statements to the two media outlets, Osadchiy blamed Bartholomew for the crisis among Orthodox churches and the division in the Holy Synod over the recognition of the independence of the Church of Ukraine.

Politis, under the headline ‘Russian intervention in the Church’ reports of Osadchiys’ “uncouth intervention” both in the internal and ecclesiastical affairs of Cyprus.

The daily reports that Moscow is annoyed because its attempt to undermine the Ecumenical Patriarchate on the issue of Ukraine failed. The ambassador told CyBC that Russia was worried because Ukraine would no longer be controlled ecclesiastically by the Moscow Patriarchate. Asked why Ukraine as an independent state could not have its own autocephalous Church, he said that Ukraine has its own autocephalous Church that is under Russia.

The daily also reports that Osadchiy said he did not meet with Archbishop Chrysostomos before the Holy Synod meeting because he did not want to affect any decisions but in reality it was the Archbishop who did not wish for such a meeting. Osadchiy however, had several contacts with members of the Holy Synod on the issue of Ukraine in a bid to garner support in favour of the Moscow Patriarchate, the paper reported.

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