GCC Press Review 12 Nov 2021

Front Page Headlines


They are sending first division football players to the changing rooms

Revocation of health cards of draft-dodging professional footballers who used a gap in the law. In total 30 athletes, professional footballers in their majority will lose their health cards issued by the Cyprus Sports Organisation because they did not do their military citing mental problems. This means they will not be able to compete in official games. In short, this will be the end of their careers.

  • Anti-migrant philosophy: It is turning villages into ghettoes
  • Panayiotis’ death: They got away with suspended sentences because they were minors (when the offences took place)
  • Natural gas: We are racing against time
  • EDEK: Courts issues orders and Sizopoulos is ignoring them


The Crans-Montana documents

Revealing: What was discussed – according to the top secret UN minutes – during the first meeting between Cavusoglu and Guterres. Investigation: Phileleftheros sheds light on the backstage.

  • The boat with the 61 migrants ran away
  • Fire by opposition on the migrant issue
  • Risk of finding ourselves with no electricity (the new unit at Vassiliko is delayed)
  • Municipality reform in December or after Epiphany – Confusion on the number of the new local government authorities.


The Children’s Rights Commissioner corners the government for its racist crescendo

The reason and the numbers the government spokesman cited promote xenophobia and intolerance.

  • Famagusta municipality: Political dangers from possible replacement of Famagusta as the metropolis of the district (because of local government reform)
  • Shock by the death of an eight-year-old girl in the occupied areas due to Covid-19
  • Turbulence on the way to the local government reform

Cyprus Mail

Bullied teen was ‘failed by society’

Appalled judge hands suspended sentence to trio who pressured boy, 16, to drink himself to death.

  • Nouris says there’s no magic solution to tackling migration hits back at detractors


SOS: We need labourers!

The rapid growth of the economy and the elimination of unemployment leads to labour shortages and paralysis of productive sectors. Survey by OEV among 320 businesses: Overall business needs in the short term (immediate) and medium-term horizon (first half of 2022) amount to 8,657 people. The greatest need is for unskilled staff.

  • Fighting over the migration issue at the time we are asking for help from the EU – Opposition, instead of cooperating to tackle the problem is engaging in pointless criticism. Nouris: The president, in a letter to the EU Commission is asking acknowledgement that Cyprus is in a state of emergency.
  • Marinos Sizopoulos: They have deposited a more than €200,000 guarantee to prevent elections in EDEK
  • House Defence Committee: The law gap allowing draft dodging by athletes will close

Main News

UN minutes reveal backstage of Crans-Montana talks

Negotiations Process, External Security


The daily, in it is main item, citing top secret UN minutes on the Crans-Montana talks, reports that it was clear that for Turkey, the issue of security and guarantees has always been a red line and that it insists on these positions to-date.

The paper reports that it has carried out an investigation into the backstage of the Crans-Montana talks and today it reveals what was discussed during the first meeting of the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, on July 6, 2017 at 1pm.

 The minutes, signed by Matthias Schuster, record that Cavusoglu stated that for Turkey the view of zero troops, zero guarantees was a non-starter.

When asked whether this meant that Turkey could accept immediate replacement of the Treaty of Guarantee with the Treaty of Implementation, and abolish the unilateral intervention right, he said “this was not the case.”

Turkey’s position, as stipulated by Cavusoglu, was that the Treaty of Alliance could be structured as a new Treaty, but it should include provisions for the permanent presence of Turkish troops. Zero troops were a red line for Turkey, the daily reports.

The meeting took place before the famous dinner which was blown up by the occupying force which, however, was able, with the help of the UN people and well-known GCs blame Nicosia for the collapse of the talks, the daily reported.

The daily also reports that Cavusoglu, when the meeting started, submitted to Guterres a non-paper with the Turkish positions and asked him to keep it confidential, and obviously not to share it with President Nicos Anastasiades and Greece’s Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias, possibly not even with the EU representative.

Therefore, the UNSG knew several hours prior to the dinner Turkey’s negative positions on the issue of security and guarantees, Phileleftheros, reports.

It further reports that Cavusoglu also stated that the Treaty of Guarantee was a taboo for the Turks and TCs. He said the TCs had vital security concerns, so it was extremely difficult for Turkey to change its position on the issue. Nevertheless, it had shown flexibility, he added. Turkey had shown a positive attitude towards resolving the Cyprus problem for a long time. In relation to the non-paper, he believed that the UN would keep it confidential. Any leak would ruin everything, the minutes said, the daily reported.

Turkey’s position on the troops would be made known in a second meeting at 6pm on the same day. The daily said it will present a document also on this on Sunday. It reported however, that, according to the minutes, a significant reduction of troops could be made with the implementation of the solution. There could still be further reductions, there could be a review depending on the progress of the solution implementation. An effective implementation would further accelerate the withdrawal, the daily reports.

Before leaving the first meeting, Guterres sought to receive a positive response from Cavusoglu for the unilateral right of intervention so that he could go to dinner with a strong position by Turkey, by putting forth the above questions.

Citing information, the daily reports that Guterres sought the immediate abolition of Turkey’s guarantees and intervention rights and wanted to take advantage of the non-paper given to him by the Turks, which included their red lines. However, instead of confirmation, he received a downright refusal which seems, and we repeat, he hid from Anastasiades and Kotzias but also from the representatives of the EU. Apparently he only informed the British, the paper said.

A diplomatic source asked by the daily for an analysis of the minutes in question replied with a question: Why the Secretary-General during the discussion with the Turkish minister did not mention that Anastasiades submitted written proposals 12 hours ago? Cavusoglu insisted that no progress had been made at Table 2 and that any Turkish ‘concessions’ on security issues should precede the concessions from Nicosia and Athens on so-called internal issues (governance, property, equal treatment of Greek and Turkish citizens), the source said. The paper notes that Anastasiades had submitted written proposals on the Secretary-General’s Framework. The proposals were described as unacceptable concessions, and they were unacceptable, and concerned the issues of the internal aspect (Table 2) of the rotating presidency, of equal treatment of all citizens.

The daily also reports that according to the UN minutes, Mevlut Cavusoglu was ready, if all issues were resolved, as he described, to ask Ankara for more flexibility.

In the coming days, it will become clear what the key players of Crans-Montana were saying to the UNSG as opposed to how they presented things afterwards or the interpretations that were given by each of them individually, the daily said, arguing that these documents are an important part of the endless puzzle of the Cyprus problem.

Government defends migration policy

Alithia, Cyprus Mail, Haravgi, Phileleftheros, Politis
Migration & Citizenship, EU Matters, Internal Security


The migration issue was among the main items in dailies on Friday. They report that the government came under fire over its decisions on the migration issue while Interior Minister Nicos Nouris defended the state policies.

Nouris told state broadcaster CyBC that President Nicos Anastasiades has already sent a letter to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen for the activation of article 78 (3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU for the suspension of asylum applications for a while for the problem to be alleviated. Anastasiades, in his letter to the Commission president, stated the need for the EU to understand that the Republic is in a state of emergency, Nouris said.

Anastasiades also called for the obligatory relocation of a number of migrants to other EU countries to decongest Cyprus.

Cyprus Mail also reports that Nouris, said the government was determined to curb arrivals through the green line pointing out that 80 per cent of migrants arrive through the buffer zone that spans 184 kilometres. He reiterated that Turkey constantly channels migrants through the north and that many of flight arrivals to the north in recent months concerned people from Sub Saharan countries arriving through Istanbul. In the past eight months, he said, 8,000 people arrived from these countries of those who crossed. “Obviously, they did not randomly find Cyprus on the map,” Nouris said, according to the daily.

The papers also report that Children’s Rights Commissioner Despo Michaelidou chastised the government for referring on Wednesday also to migrant children to make a point of how bad the situation was as regards the demographic change due to the constant flows to the island.

She criticised government spokesman Marios Pelekanos who, on Wednesday, pointed out, as part of the problem, that in pre-primary education the number of pupils with a migrant background exceeds 30 per cent of the total, while in primary education it amounts to 16 per cent.  

“The whole structure of the speech of the government spokesman, the use of numerical data without explanation or differentiation, intentionally or unintentionally, increased the concern within society, the feeling of insecurity, xenophobia and intolerance,” she said.

Michaelidou also pointed out that he refrained from clarifying whether the numbers quoted include all children with a migrant background such as those of mixed marriages, of investors living in Cyprus, those whose parents have a residence and work permit in Cyprus, but also children of asylum seekers, refugees, and unaccompanied minors.

The commissioner pointed out that children with a migrant background were “first and foremost children and are a vulnerable group exposed to serious risks and daily infringement of their rights.” She also said the state, society and individuals ought to avoid targeting and referring to them as a potential threat that inevitably leads only to their social exclusion and stigmatisation.

Haravgi reports that the commissioner has cornered the government over this.

According to Politis, the way the government handles the migration issue causes tendencies and phenomena of racism among the citizens of the Republic and in particular in small communities. The paper said that the government’s policies are turning some areas into ghettoes giving as an example the village of Droushia in Paphos where locals complain of demographic change since many migrants settled there. Despite numerous calls to the authorities by Droushia’s community leader for help to tackle the constant arrival of migrants to the community nothing has been done, the daily reports, with locals expressing concern as it is not clear who of those are on the island legally and who are not.  The large number of migrants in the village leads to racist behaviour against them, the paper reported.

Alithia reports that opposition, instead of contributing to forming a common position on how to tackle the problem, has been engaging in pointless criticism.

While the country is facing very serious consequences of migration and is asking for help from the EU, for being in a state of emergency, there are reactions, criticism and even misinterpretation of the government proposals that were announced on Wednesday.

The matter prompted another spat between main opposition AKEL and ruling DISY.

DISY accused AKEL of pointless criticism after the main opposition party said the government has not made efficient use of the some €100m the EU gave Cyprus for asylum protection issues as it failed to clamp down on people smuggling rings. AKEL also said that the Anastasiades government had even backed the EU agreement with Turkey on the management of the migration issue. It said that instead of the government assuming its responsibilities it was giving recitals in xenophobic rhetoric.

DIKO said that the government decisions were not providing solutions but were a sad acknowledgement of the further increase in arrivals and the ineffective utilisation of the tools and funds it had to at its disposal.

ELAM, on the other hand, congratulated the government for paying heed to some of its standing suggestions, albeit with delay.

EDEK said that it was imperative to take measures against the illegal migratory flows that Turkey uses in an attempt to create a kind of hybrid war for the deterioration of the Cypriot society and the demographic character of the free areas.

DIPA agrees with the government decision to seek help from the EU accusing the bloc of indifference and inactivity to the problems Cyprus faces.

The Greens chastised the government for the way it is handling the migration issue arguing it will bring more shame to the country. “Shame on you Mr president, shame on you Mr Nouris, shame to all the ministers,” the party said, according to Alithia.

Reactions to installation of gate at Ledra street crossing

Cyprus Mail
CBMs, Internal Security


According to the paper, the installation by the government of a gate at the Ledra Street crossing to the north of the island, prompted criticism that it had turned it into a hard border.

The interior ministry had announced last Friday that it would be closing the crossing for 48 hours Tuesday to Thursday due to construction work, the daily reported, but on Thursday it transpired that the work concerned the installation of a gate and a prefabricated control post for officers policing the crossing.

Pro-reunification supporters took to the net to protest the action, suggesting the government had turned the crossing into a hard border.

Unite Cyprus Now tweeted: “Stop turning the Green Line into a hard, fenced border crossing through the heart of our capital!”, the daily reported.

EU Council renews measures regime against Turkey

Alithia, Haravgi, Phileleftheros
EU Matters, Energy


The dailies report that the Council of the EU has adopted on Thursday a decision extending the framework for restrictive measures in response to Turkey’s unauthorised drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean.

The regime has been extended for one year, until 12 November 2022, the Council announced.
 This means the EU will remain able to impose targeted restrictive measures on persons or entities responsible for or involved in unauthorised drilling activities relating to hydrocarbons in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Such restrictive measures consist of an asset freeze for listed persons and entities as well as a ban on travel to the EU for listed persons. In addition, EU persons and entities are forbidden from making funds available to those listed.
Currently, two individuals are subject to sanctions, the Council notes.   
The decision will be kept under constant review; it will be renewed or amended, as appropriate, if the Council deems that its objectives have not been met.

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