GCC Press Review 29 Nov 2020

Front Page Headlines

Sunday Mail

Expert warns of third wave

‘Daily cases need to drop to below 150 for Christmas relaxations’.

  • Lute thought to be looking for signs of movement on visit
  • Comment: Russia’s global battle for the Orthodox soul
  • Comment: Jane Holl Lute: The quiet American


Negotiations progress a tool for partition

The British deception, political equality and the loose federation. Turks welcome Lute with drones in the air and ships in the sea, insist on time frames, guarantees and political equality while government trembles at possibility of stalemate. Why the British believe that the progress of negotiations so far is in the right direction. How Lute’s presence threatens to cancel sanctions. How the government believes Turkey might act during five-party meeting.

  • Loria Markides (interview): “The aim of Turkey has consistently been to regain Cyprus”
  • Questions: The map of the State Department and the “Joe Biden vision”
  • Church rift: A test for succession to Archbishop’s throne
  • National Guard: Years of lack of men and SYOPs (professional soldiers)
  • Greece-Turkey relations: Nautical face-off in Aegean and elsewhere, everywhere
  • Savvas Iacovides (opinion): Third and last chance to reject the Turkobizonal and for new strategy
  • Christos Christou (opinion): It is the time for a new path in the Cyprus Problem
  • Andreas M. Vasileiou (opinion): The name game for Famagusta
  • Giannakis L. Omirou (opinion): Against British duplicity


Between federation and confederation

Lute’s visit and the new mobility in the Cyprus Problem. For there to be a federal solution, the G/C side needs to be clear and reliable when it comes to political equality of the T/Cs. What do the T/Cs really mean when they put forward a two-state solution? Two independent states or two statelets with equal sovereignty within the EU? Internationally everyone awaits the new Biden government, the British return and the Europeans seem tired and ready for any clear resolution. Turkey’s terms.

  • Cyclops: American-Cypriot security centre under construction
  • Holy Synod: Closed the door to Moscow
  • Parathyro (culture section): Feature – Buffer Fringe Performance Arts Festival comes with a “hybrid” form of internet and physical presence


Turkish hazing for UN

Ankara will receive the UNSG’s envoy after the European Council, on December 14. High-ranking officer from the Foreign Office coming to Nicosia.

  • Alarm bells from G. Arestis: We should not sell out Famagusta for 17% of it – Dangers for Famagustans are many and particular – “Immovable property commission” not an effective remedy
  • Averof Neophytou (interview): The three criteria for 2023’s presidential candidate
  • Turkish actions in gap left by Security Council
  • Looting in Islam and the Turks
  • At five-party conference under blackmail
  • Blinken’s positions on Cyprus and Turkey


Tatar demands two states and border changes

We will not lose another 40 years discussing the BBF and provisions that will turn us again into refugees.

  • Cyprus Problem: Five-party meeting will not be procedural
  • Property issue: Poor offerings by (Immovable Property) Commission
  • The parties and the prevailing (atmosphere) during the time of the Annan Plan: Chr. Pantelides: “Only Tassos worked to claim a correct solution”
  • Dialogue means zero research: Clear message from Athens
  • Church affairs: Holy Synod seeks peace and quiet


DISY government scandals bottomless

  • (Nicos Christodoulides and Stephanos Stephanou interviews) The goal is for UNSG initiative to be successful
  • (Nurtane Karagil interview) Cyprus always was and is multi-cultural
  • Decisions by the “27” set the scene for Turkey
  • Geopolitical conflicts behind church conflicts


Odysseas, enough populism

Anastasiades enraged by Auditor General of the Republic. Issue of Auditor General’s powers goes before Supreme Court. DISY: With his political interventions, the Auditor General becomes the political arm of DIKO-AKEL. Odysseas sees criminal acts by Council of Ministers.

  • Government spokesperson responds to questions by “Alithia”: Turkey will change if it faces a cost – No cover up by government on Cypra slaughterhouse – We will take on our responsibilities
  • Chr. Panagiotides (opinion): Should someone appeal to occupied property commission or not?
  • Coronavirus: Cases stable over 300 also yesterday
  • Analysis: Clear acceptance of Guterres terms is last defence

Main News

Lute will visit Ankara after December’s critical European Council

Alithia, Kathimerini, Phileleftheros, Politis, Simerini, Sunday Mail
Negotiations Process, Regional/ International Relations, External Security, EU Matters

Phileleftheros reports that UNSG envoy Jane Holl Lute will not be visiting Ankara right after her meetings with President Anastasiades and T/C leader Ersin Tatar on Tuesday, but that she will go to Turkey on December 14.

The newspaper points out that in this way, Turkey intends to wait for the possible results of the next European Council (to be held on December 10-11) before Turkish officials meet Lute to discuss the possibility of a return to negotiations.

According to Phileleftheros, Lute will go to Athens after her visit to Cyprus, but will then return to New York before flying back to the Eastern Mediterranean 10 days later.

The newspaper also cites information that UK Foreign Office official Ajay Sharma visited Cyprus for the second time over the past few weeks. Sharma is reported to have had meetings with both communities and to have touched on all issues regarding the Cyprus Problem.

According to information cited by Phileleftheros, Sharma focused on convincing Nicosia to not insist on the need for the EU to impose sanctions on Turkey because this would make a five-party meeting unlikely.

Simerini also reports that the UK is once more active in the Cyprus Problem, and that the key for the British side is the acceptance of political equality and the way it will be included in a constitution after a solution in a way that gives more powers to the constituent state. The UK is also reported to believe that the convergences achieved so far point to this direction.

Alithia meanwhile reports in an analysis that the last chance that the G/Cs have to defend a federal solution is by signalling a clear acceptance of the Guterres Framework.

The Sunday Mail reports that Jane Holl Lute is arriving on the island to assess the possibility of the two sides bridging their differences. Former T/C negotiator Ozdil Nami told the newspaper that if Lute sticks to the UN’s parameters, then Tatar and Turkey will have to reconsider their positions.

Phileleftheros also reports on an interview by Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias to European news site Politico. Dendias said that Germany is not living up to its leadership role within the EU and that he cannot understand why Berlin is unwilling to use its economic strength to send the message that countries should follow international law.

He added that he is sure Germany understands the paradox of providing offensive arms to a country which currently threatens the peace and stability of two EU member states.

Dendias also called on EU member states to send a clear message to Turkey during December’s European Council, saying that one cannot do the same things as in the past and expect a different result.

In an interview with Kathimerini, T/C leader Ersin Tatar repeated that he was elected with the mandate to pursue a two state solution and that there shouldn’t be any more time wasted on a federal model. Specifically, he said that he wants to put on the table a two state solution based on sovereign equality, and that these two states will take the necessary decisions that will increase wealth and peace.

Tatar also said that the T/C side is open to discussing changes when it comes to “borders”, but that he cannot accept solutions that will make people refugees once again.

Regarding natural gas and whether the T/C side will want a partition of the EEZ, Tatar said that this is an issue that will be discussed during the negotiations.

Politis reports, citing political analysts, that if the leaders don’t insist on tactics, and if the UN, the US, the UK and the EU press towards a final deal, a solution would be something between a loose federation and a confederation.

According to the report, the G/C side does not trust Erdogan or Tatar which is why it wants to have achieved some sanctions against Turkey on the EU level before an informal meeting. The T/C side will focus on the argument that the G/C side is unreliable.

However, Politis adds citing opinions of well informed sources, T/C references to two states should not necessarily be seen as the creation of two fully independent nations on Cyprus. The same sources point out that these arguments should be seen in the context of T/C aspirations towards political equality, and that what Tatar wants is increased sovereignty for the community within a new structure. This could point to a confederal solution within the EU, Politis notes.

Buffer Fringe festival goes online to counter movement restrictions

Haravgi, Phileleftheros, Politis


Several Sunday newspapers feature interviews and pieces on this year’s Buffer Fringe Festival, which is taking place both live and online due to the coronavirus pandemic and is exploring the theme of displacement.

Politis reports that this year’s Buffer Fringe is essentially held in a hybrid form, between the online space and the real world. The theme of this year is “Displacement” and concerns the way in which people live movement through their lives and actions.

In an interview with Phileleftheros, the festival’s art director, Ellada Evangelou, said that what makes Buffer Fringe unique is that it provides a space for experimental art in the same way many other similar festivals around the world do such as the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Nicosia’s Buffer Fringe however takes its place from the “non-space” between the two communities, which is an area and a concept not found in other countries. The festival showcases work from G/C and T/C artists as well as artists from around the world and aims to open up new perspectives beyond the usual narratives.

Evangelou noted that this year’s festival had to be designed and redesigned 13 times due to the constant changes in coronavirus measures on both sides of the island.

She also said that the developments regarding Varosha also changed the direction of a project by Limassol-based artist Elena Agathocleous and Famagusta-based artists Nurtane Karagil. The two artists were going to investigate the relationship of their two cities through the “95 stops” project, but along the way the lockdowns as well as the reopening of part of Varosha happened.

In an interview with Haravgi, Karagil explained the concept of the “95 stops” project, which tracks the path from Limassol and Famagusta through persons, locations and events located at every kilometre along the way from one city to the other.

Karagil said that she believes the Buffer Fringe is important because of the way in which it succeeds to push the notion of the Buffer Zone beyond its well known framework.

Karagil also explained that her and Agathocleous’s project aimed to focus on displacement as something positive, by finding 95 locations between the two cities where everyone can feel at home.

She noted that in today’s Cyprus, G/Cs and T/Cs are not really that far away from each other but tend to know more about what happens in the US than what happens in the other side.

Responding to a question whether Famagusta could become a multicultural city in a federal Cyprus, Karagil pointed out that Cyprus was always multicultural and that this is the truth that should not be forgotten.

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