AktüelMedya OdasıPress reviewGreek Cypriot press review: Lute is putting the Terms of Reference on paper

Greek Cypriot press review
Gazedda Kıbrıs Gazedda KıbrısEylül 4, 2019
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GazeddaKibris is an independent and non profit news portal promoting fundemental values like human rights, social justice and peace. As GazeddaKibris we are happy to promote Cyprus Dialogue Forum’s efforts to enhance the level of understanding of the communities in Cyprus. The content of the media reviews are prepared by Cyprus Dialogue Forum and GazeddaKibris shares their original content to reach wider audience.

Front Page Headlines

Politis

EEZ delimitation in exchange with natural gas proceeds

Counter proposal by the president: Money to the TCs from the Hydrocarbons Fund before the solution. The president pledges for TCs to have their share of the proceeds under the condition for Turkey to delimitate its EEZ with Cyprus. According to the president his counter proposal is before Cavusoglu. It was not turned down by Akinci. 

  • At the finish line for the Terms (of Reference) – Fourth day of meetings with Lute.
  • The works of art have been returned – As part of the agreement on confidence-building measures. The paintings will be exhibited in November at the Ledra Palace.
  • Refugees: Proposal for compensation

Phileleftheros

The Bishop of Morphou is innocent 

Police have completed their investigation and have not detected any criminal offence. The file ‘(Bishop of Morphou) Neophytos on homosexuality’ is in the hands of the Attorney-general.

  • Art works for the GCs, archival material for the TCs
  • New appointment with Lute – She is staying until she finds the magic formula.
  • New disciplinary probe at the Famagusta land registry – Information leaks.
  • The Turkish UAVs are disturbing Paphos flights – Changes to the take-off/landing schedule for safety reasons.
  • A friend of Tatar-Ozersay lays his hands on Varosi – The aim is the coastal front.
  • Proposal putting a break on the selloff of occupied (properties)
  • Shops in refugee estates are being reclaimed 
  • Propaganda video and provocations by (Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi) Akar

Haravgi

Lute is putting the Terms of Reference on paper 

Lute’s intention of leaving Nicosia with a written document that will include at least the headlines of the ToR, has led to the extension of the stay of the UNSG envoy for another day and the separate meetings she will have also today  with the two leaders. The possibility of a joint meeting with the two leaders is not ruled out. 

  • Art works and audiovisual material after 45 years
  • Commercial areas in refugee estates – Slums and hubs of drug trafficking.

Cyprus Mail

‘Very close’ to agreeing terms 

Lute to stay on for at least one more day for further talks with leaders.

  • (Photo caption) Greek and Turkish Cypriots on Tuesday exchanged artworks and audiovisual material as part of a confidence building measure agreed by the leaders of the two communities in February.

Alithia

Last appointment today for the final ‘touch ups’

Lute is seeing again, for the fourth and last time, the two leaders for the Terms of Reference. (Government Spokesman Prodromos) Prodromou: We are close to reaching a joint understanding on the Terms of Reference which are neither the solution of the Cyprus problem or the result of the talks. 

  • Interior Minister: A probe is being launched against land registry officials for providing information on the values of properties in the occupied areas – What (minister) Constantinos Petrides is saying in his confidential note to parliament. An official of the Famagusta land registry in Larnaca has been suspended. (DIKO MP) Christos Orphanides: Between 40 and 50 box files have been moved. 
  • We exchanged art works and audiovisual material – An important measure.

Main News

Anastasiades agrees to TCs getting gas money share prior solution if Ankara agrees to EEZ delimitation 

Alithia, Cyprus Mail, Haravgi, Phileleftheros, Politis
Negotiations Process, Energy, EU Matters

OVERVIEW

The shuttle diplomacy by UN special envoy Jane Holl Lute who has extended her stay on the island for a fourth and possibly final meeting with the two leaders is main article in most papers. 

Politis reports President Nicos Anastasiades has proposed the possibility of TCs directly receiving proceeds from the exploitation of natural gas before the solution in exchange with Turkey agreeing to delimitate its exclusive economic zone (EEZ) with Cyprus.

In its main story Politis reveals that Anastasiades briefed on Tuesday the members of the National Council on his proposal to TC leader Mustafa Akinci concerning the management of natural gas. 

According to the daily the proposal concerns the possibility of direct withdrawal of money by the TCs as soon as proceeds begin to flow into the Hydrocarbons Fund before the solution of the Cyprus problem under the condition that Turkey agrees to delimitate her EEZ with the Republic of Cyprus. 

Ankara has already been informed of the proposal but has yet to respond, the daily reported. 

Politis also reports that Anastasiades told members of the press during a briefing earlier in the week that he had proposed during his meeting with Akinci last August setting up a mechanism for informing the TC community on decisions and developments on the management of natural gas and setting up a bank account that will be linked with the Hydrocarbons Fund where the share of the TCs from the sale of natural gas will be deposited. This share is around 30 per cent, the daily reported.

The TCs will be able to take that money from the account after 2022 when the first proceeds from natural gas exploitation are expected to pour in. 

According to Politis this is a significant concession on behalf of the GC side on a negotiating card it was holding onto ahead of the new round of talks.

According to the president’s analysis, natural wealth management is a matter of sovereignty for the state and therefore no such right could be recognised in the internationally unrecognised ‘Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus’, Politis reported. 

Akinci had requested this proposal in writing as a non-paper to submit to Ankara, the daily reported. 

All papers report that the two leaders will meet with Lute for the fourth and final time as they are close to an agreement on the ToR. 

Later on Wednesday however, it was reported by online media that she might extend her stay for more meetings after the procedure hit a snag.

Government Spokesman Prodromos Prodromou said on Tuesday that an agreement on the ToR was close and that there would be results. He added however that the ToR “are the points to be mentioned in the negotiations. They are neither a solution of the Cyprus issue nor the outcome of any negotiations.” 

Phileleftheros reports Lute wants to achieve such a wording which could convince Guterres to invite the two leaders to a meeting, but to also avoid raising tensions between the two sides. 

Nicosia believes the leaders’ joint meeting with Guterres will take place. Citing the foreign minister, the daily reported that the meeting will take place at the beginning of October. Sources said it would take place in Europe after all and not in New York as was the initial plan. 

The final text on the ToR will be announced at that meeting while the next steps concern an informal five-party meeting and then a decision will be taken on the start of the talks, Phileleftheros reported. 

Political party leaders, in their majority, expressed concerns or their disagreement with the followed procedure after the briefing of the National Council by Anastasiades.

According to Cyprus Mail, though ruling DISY and opposition AKEL were positive, the reaction from the more hardline parties was for the most part negative, which is often an indication that a serious move towards new negotiations is underway. The fact that Lute is sticking around for at least another day is also an indication that the ToR must be agreed before she leaves, another sign that a new round of high-level negotiations is on the cards, the paper said.

Leader of DISY Averof Neophytou expressed support to Anastasiades for his efforts. 

AKEL leader Andros Kyprianou issued a plea to the two leaders to revise the criticality of the moment and the need for negotiations to resume. 

DIKO’s leader Nicolas Papadopoulos said his party agrees with the resumption of negotiations but disagrees with the Guterres framework. He expressed concern that the ToR would be based on the Secretary-General’s report of September 2017, which does not refer to territory, maps, Turkish troops and its intervention rights. “As so far this is the only text we have before us, then you realise we are starting on a negative footing,” he said. 

Head of EDEK Marinos Sizopoulos said the discussed benchmarks could not lead to a democratic process and a viable solution while they could entrap the RoC in dangerous procedures.

Citizens Alliance leader Giorgos Lillikas said there should be no third Conference on Cyprus unless there was adequate preparation and common ground to allow for a positive outcome. There was also no indication the Turkish side would abandon its unwavering stance on certain issues. “So, I’m very afraid that by following and adopting the same ingredients we had in Crans-Montana and Geneva before that, and following the same path, we will inevitably have an outcome that is no different,” he added.

Far-right ELAM’s spokesman Geadis Geadi said the ToR include “dangerous provisions.”

All papers also report on TC ‘foreign minister’ Kudret Ozersay’s statements on Tuesday warning that those who are trying to “trap us” again in the same processes, on the same basis that has repeatedly failed “they are the ones who do not want the situation in Cyprus to change. Those who make this mistake will not be forgiven by history, nor by the TC,” he said.

According to the dailies, President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker on Tuesday told Akinci in a letter that the issue of hydrocarbons must benefit both communities in Cyprus and contribute to peace and stability. The best way to do this would be through a comprehensive solution, Juncker said in his response to a letter Akinci sent the EC president in July explaining in detail the proposal he had made to the GC side on setting up a joint committee on natural gas. Juncker’s response was delivered to Akinci by Maarten Verwey, Director General of the European Commission’s Structural Reform Support Office, who was on the island on an official visit. 

KEY ACTORS
DISY, AKEL
>>
 Support the process underway and wait for the results.

Papadopoulos (DIKO)
>>
 In favour of resumption of talks but against the Guterres framework. 
>> Fears the ToR would be based on Guterres’ September 2017 report which does not refer to territory, maps, Turkish troops and its intervention rights. 

Sizopoulos (EDEK)
>>
 Concerned that the current discussion points will not lead to a democratic process and a viable solution and could lead the RoC into dangerous procedures.

Lillikas (Citizens Alliance)
>>
 Wants a different approach since the path followed to-date has led to failure thus another procedure along the same lines would lead to the same result.

Geadi (ELAM)
>>
 Warns that the ToR include dangerous provisions.

Ozersay
>>
 Against following the same process & warns that those who insist on following the same path over and over are the ones who do not want the status quo to change. 

Juncker (European Commission)
>>
 The best way for hydrocarbons to benefit both communities & contribute to peace and stability is through a comprehensive solution.


EDEK proposes financial state aid to refugees to keep them from selling property to IPC 

Alithia, Cyprus Mail, Haravgi, Phileleftheros, Politis
Human Rights, Property 

OVERVIEW

The papers on Wednesday report on two issues concerning refugee estates and state support to refugees who cannot use their properties in the north, discussed at the House refugee committee. 

The first concerns a bill proposal by EDEK MP Costis Efstathiou providing for law amendments to granting state aid to refugees with property in the occupied areas to avoid them seeking compensation from the Immovable Properties Commission (IPC). 

Efstathiou said the proposal concerns amending the law on the state-owned Central Agency for the Equal Distribution of Burden to support refugees who own property in the north by imposing a 0.4 per cent levy on real estate sales in the government-controlled area. This money would be used to create a fund to financially support refugees with property in the occupied areas. The measure would aim at helping refugees fight the temptation to turn to the illegal compensation committee of the occupied areas or sell their property by illegal private agreements for next to nothing, Efstathiou said. 

According to the papers the EDEK MP argued that the 0.4 per cent levy which would be imposed on the sale of immovable property in the government-controlled area, was only a fracture of the inflated value these properties gained as a result of the Turkish invasion. 

The same committee also discussed the need to amend the regulations on commercial areas in refugee estates, in place since 1980, to address the chaos that reigns as regards these establishments’ management. 

The head of the committee, AKEL MP Skevi Koukouma, said that many of these shops are closed and fell in disrepair and are a source of pollution, others are being rented out but tenants do not pay any money, while others while are on paper rented out, they remain closed. In the meantime, delays are observed in processing applications by persons interested in renting them to house their business. 

Haravgi reported that some of these shops are being sublet and operate as bars and brothels while, due to their desertion, they have also become places where drug trafficking is taking place. There are 348 shops at refugee estates, most of them in Nicosia.


Two sides exchange art work and audiovisual recordings as per CBM agreement 

Alithia, Cyprus Mail, Haravgi, Phileleftheros, Politis
CBMs, Human Rights

OVERVIEW

All dailies report on the exchange on Tuesday between the two sides of artworks and audiovisual material as part of a confidence-building measure agreed by the two leaders last February. 

The exchange took place through the Technical Committee on Culture, at the UN protected area at Nicosia airport.

The transfer concerns 219 artworks belonging to GCs and audiovisual material concerning cultural works by TCs up to 1963 that was stored by the state broadcaster CyBC

The material will remain with the UN at present for the preparation of an exhibition which will be open to public in November. Later on, the material will be given to the two sides.

Politis, citing information, reported that not all the audiovisual material was handed over as yet because part of it is in Belgium for digitisation. 


Call to Varosha refugees not to sell their properties to third parties 

Alithia, Cyprus Mail, Haravgi, Phileleftheros
Property, Human Rights

OVERVIEW

There was a number of articles in the dailies on Wednesday on issues concerning properties in the occupied areas, mainly the closed-off town of Varosha in Famagusta. 

Phileleftheros reports that among the intermediaries who approached GC owners of properties in Varosha and the occupied Famagusta coastal front is Serden Hoca, a TC real estate businessman with close ties with ‘prime minister’ Ersin Tatar and ‘foreign minister’ Kudret Ozersay. 

In many other cases, GC property owners receive calls from TC lawyers on behalf of European companies expressing interest in buying their properties.  It is estimated however, that there are Turkish interests behind these companies, including friends of Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the daily reported. 

It also reported that there is strong interest in Golden Sand hotel in Varosha. 

The paper reported that the Famagusta Municipality would carry out a probe to see which and how many properties have been sold. The issue will be discussed during a meeting of mayor Simos Ioannou with President Nicos Anastasiades on September 17. 

Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides is meeting on Wednesday with a delegation of the Famagusta Chamber of Commerce to discuss the property issue. 

Meanwhile, according to the papers, the Famagusta Municipality urged GCs not to sell their properties in Varosha to foreigners. 

In a statement, the municipality urged the owners to ignore calls, “wherever they come from, aiming at alienating them from their properties and by extension, the town of Varosha itself.”

Alithia and Phileleftheros also report that the interior ministry has launched a probe into the leaking of information by officials of the Famagusta land registry of information concerning the value of properties in the occupied areas. One official has already been suspended. 

This confidential information was given by the interior ministry in response to a question submitted by DIKO MP Christos Orphanides following reports last year on the case. 

Alithia reported that Orphanides had asked the minister whether reports that between 40 and 50 box files had been removed from the offices of the Famagusta land registry which is in Larnaca were true and if so what has the ministry done about it. He had also enquired about the content of these files. 

According to the dailies, the probe was ordered after information that an official was caught leaking information to an MP. In total three officials are being investigated in connection with the case. 

Phileleftheros reports that a similar case took place in the past this time with two officials at the Kyrenia and Nicosia land registries, who were caught leaking information to a TC lawyer who was filing applications on behalf of GCs to the illegal compensations commission of the pseudo-state. The two officials were forced to retire. 


Cyprus to protest over disturbance in Nicosia FIR by Turkish UAVs

Phileleftheros
External Security 

OVERVIEW

The paper reports that some aircraft flying to and from Paphos airport were forced lately to alter their course to avoid Turkish unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that fly in the Nicosia Flight Information Region (FIR) mainly west of Paphos. 

According to the daily, Turkey, since mid-July, has intensified, almost daily, flights of four aircraft, type BayraktarTB2 that fly for long periods in circles over the area where the Fatih drillship is located. 

This is an area where many airplanes pass from, and their presence affects the safety of airplanes that are either landing at or taking off from Paphos Airport, Phileleftheros reported.

Citing sources, the daily reported that for security reasons, when a Turkish UAV is present in the area, the air traffic controllers guide the aircraft on a different route. The Republic of Cyprus will soon raise the issue with Eurocontrol citing violation of the Nicosia FIR and as a matter of flight safety, the daily reported.

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