Cyprus Mail
Opinion Tales from the Coffeeshop

Coffeeshop: Another fine mess but no Yanks to the rescue

The two NIcos conjured up images of Laurel and Hardy during their meeting in Athens

STATE broadcaster CyBC raised everyone’s hopes when it reported on Tuesday that the “US presence in the Mediterranean is strengthened, with an aircraft carrier in the region at the same time as ExxonMobil’s exploratory ships arrive.”

At last, the provocative Turks would be put in their place by Yankee might. As the CyBC television hack reported, “Washington sends a clear message, with Ankara as the recipient, recognising the sovereign rights of the Cyprus Republic’s EEZ and its activities there, including the activities of energy giant ExxonMobil.”

This was no idle claim. According to the reporter, “this is proved by its (Washington’s) action to send with the ships of ExxonMobil the aircraft carrier Iwo Jima.” After what had happened to the ENI drillship, prevented from carrying out drilling by Turkish warships, “the US has been mobilised to stop similar events.”

The source of the CyBC scoop was Sputnik News website which reported on Tuesday that the “US is bolstering its presence in the region as Turkey appears to be increasingly willing to use or at least threaten force to uphold its interests in Northern Cyprus.” The Iwo Jima “amphibious-ready group was deployed to the Mediterranean to bolster the strength of the US Navy’s Sixth Fleet,” said Sputnik.

All that was needed to confirm the good news was tweet from President Trump, along the lines of “we will protect the great nation of Kyproulla,” but it never arrived.


ANYONE with half a brain would have realised that the story was complete nonsense after hearing that the source was Sputnik News, but it appears the CyBC television news department does not employ such people.

Sputnik News is the official internet propaganda organ of the Putin government, which presents news with the slant prescribed by the Russian Federation. CyBC hacks might not have realised this, being loyal disciples of Mother Russia, which they consider the beacon of all that is virtuous and principled in international politics.

Had they noticed the glaring factual errors in the Sputnik report, they may have taken the story about the US aircraft carrier with a pinch of salt.  This is what the website said about the Zohr site in the same report. “Last December, an oil find at a location between Egypt and Cyprus called the Zohr Site was discovered. Believed to be host to trillions of barrels of untapped oil, Zohr’s discovery has led to a black gold rush in the surrounding area for similar sites.”

I very much doubt Sputnik’s story was intended for the idiots at the state broadcaster. It was an attempt to stir anti-US feeling in Turkey, which Putin has been at pains to win over and lure away from the West, by suggesting the American warships were in Mediterranean to protect the Cypriot EEZ.


SPUTNIK’S report, as part of its efforts to turn the Turks against the West, quoted a claim carried by Turkish news website Ahval.

“According to Ahval News, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who served as ExxonMobil’s CEO prior to taking his present job in 2017, criticised the Turkish naval action as “gunboat diplomacy” during a Monday meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu.”

The Sputnik shit-stirring was taken seriously where a columnist at Turkish daily Milliyet wrote that “unless the Cyprus problem is solved by October, or unless Turkey’s position on Cyprus’ hydrocarbons is accepted, there is a possibility of Turkish warships going head-to-head with US warships.”

If this guy is ever jobless, he should apply for a job at the CyBC news department. He will have a good chance of being hired despite being Turkish.


THE HOPES raised by the state broadcaster were finally laid to rest on Friday when Turkey’s Anadolu news agency quoted a spokesman of the Pentagon saying that the Iwo Jima was taking part in a scheduled naval exercise in the region where the Sixth Fleet operated, together with Israel.

The CyBC did not report on Friday night that the Sixth Fleet had joined forces with Israel’s navy in order to protect the Cypriot EEZ and defend ExxonMobil’s two survey ships that had still not sailed to Block 10.

Meanwhile our new foreign minister, Nicos Christodoulides, mildly rebuked our media for the report about the Sixth Fleet. “There is absolutely no need to create a backstory which, on the one hand, does not correspond to reality and, on the other, perhaps attempts to create a new state of affairs or serve some other agenda,” he said.

Was the Dalai Lama actually inferring that Sputnik’s story “served some other agenda,” that might be unrelated to Mother Russia’s principled stand on the Cyprob?

Earlier he had explained the need for the utmost seriousness on the issue, because the world was watching Cyprus and “listening to us.” If he believes this, he adds credence to our long-held view that you can take the man out of Paphos but you can’t take Paphos out of the man.


The originals

THE DALAI Lama paid his first visit to Athens as foreign minister on Monday. There he met Prime Minister Tsipras and his counterpart Nikos Kotzias. In the pictures with the latter, the pair looked like Laurel and Hardy, the only difference being that the darker-haired of the two was the overweight one.

This is irrelevant, but when they used to show Laurel and Hardy on CyBC television, back in the sixties, the title of the show in Greek was ‘O Chondros ke o Lignos’ (The Fat man and the Skinny man) which was probably more appropriate for the meeting of the foreign ministers.

We did not read any conspiracy theories explaining the fact that commie chief Andros Kyprianou went to Athens for a meeting with Tsipras and party leaders, 24 hours before the arrival of the Dalai Lama. This was no coincidence, as any self-respecting conspiracy theorist would tell you.

Our establishment heard that comrade Andros, the only party leader that still supports reunification, had hastily arranged to go to Athens ahead of the foreign minister, to warn Tsipras that the Dalai Lama would try to sell him the idea of partition and not to buy it.

Prez Nik was won over by the idea of partition for some time now but would want the full backing of the Greek government before he decides to break the news to the Greek Cypriots. I suspect that Tsipras agreed with both his visitors from Kyproulla.


MANY are wondering how Nik, who became a political pariah for supporting the Annan plan, could have become a supporter of partition. The irony is that the settlement plan he had negotiated with Mustafa Akinci was much better for the Greek Cypriots than the satanic A-plan that he championed in 2004.

What caused this volte face? Find out in next Sunday’s Coffeeshop when I will give the matter a bit more thought. In the meantime, our establishment would be happy to publish any theories from readers, not longer than 30 words. The person that submits the best explanation wins a 300ml bottle of the hair dye Prez Nik uses.


THE PROMOTION of the Dalai Lama left a vacancy at the Diplomatic Office of the president, which he was also in charge of. Ambassador Nicos Emiliou had lobbied for the post and for a while it looked like he had a good chance of landing it, thanks to his impeccable rejectionist credentials that are greatly appreciated by the prez.

However, his appointment did not materialise because of his pay demands. Apparently, Emiliou had asked for a bigger salary than what he is currently earning as an ambassador, something the prez would not sanction. In the end Kyriacos Kouros, the head of the secret service, Kyp, was appointed and will now hold two positions.

There are many times when the cheaper option is the better one.


SPEAKING of money, is the taxpayer still paying Andreas Mavroyiannis for being chief negotiator? If this is the case, it is a scandalous waste of public money, considering the guy has done no work for eight months. There have been no negotiations of any type since the Crans-Montana fiasco, which ended at the beginning of July.

This would make the job of chief negotiator superfluous. As if this were not bad enough, Mavroyiannis has also flown to New York at the taxpayer’s expense more than once since the collapse of the talks, supposedly for consultations at the UN. The peace process was dead so why did Mavroyiannis need to visit the UN. Why couldn’t our permanent representative at the UN have carried out the alleged consultations? I hope Odysseas will carry out an investigation into this scandalous waste of public money on a guy, who has essentially done no work for the last eight months. Unless Mavroyiannis arranged for the Iwo Jima to come to the Mediterranean to protect the Cypriot EEZ, in which case he fully deserved his pay, and I take everything I said back.


WE RECEIVED a statement from a group calling itself the Pancyprian Association of Cannabis Users and Friends, angrily protesting about the narcotest that was introduced and has already led to the arrest of several youths that tested positive. It said:

“Friends and dudes, the introduction of the narcotest was a very heavy and uncool decision by the fascists running our beautiful island. It is a clear case of persecution of a big section of the population that can no longer indulge in one of the great pleasures of life – driving their car, stoned, listening to loud music and looking on the bright side of life. In a better world this, pleasure would have been considered a human right and enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights.

“Stoned drivers are not a threat to road safety like drunken drivers because they do not step on the accelerator, for the simple reason they are never in a hurry to get anywhere on time. The weed slows down users and they tend to drive as fast as 80-year-olds on Valium, so there is no moral, legal, political, ethical, social or scientific reason to treat us like common drunks.”

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