GCC Press Review 9 Mar 2020

Front Page Headlines


We “secured” Ledras and we’re off to Evros

We ask Frontex for help and we send personnel to Greece without having been asked to. President took by suprise the Police, which hadn’t been informed of the proposal. Closure of checkpoints extended, with the excuse of lack of staff.

  • Incidents outside China exceed 20 thousand: Army camp in Nicosia quarantined – Results of two suspicious incidents today


They decide for checkpoints

Pressures to lift restrictions at crossing points – Coronavirus knocks our door. Military camp and police station under quarantine in anticipation of results today.

  • Pandemic of fear because of the coronavirus
  • Anastasiadis – Mitsotakis talked: Cyprus on Greece’s side at Evros
  • Coordination of moves: Common front in Brussels
  • Rash moves by Erdogan
  • War of nerves from Turkey


Coronavirus threatens the economy

50 billion dollars of losses for tourism worldwide. Working from home for precautionary reasons. Medical services in Cyprus on alert.

  • Counter-protest unit from Cyprus to Evros
  • AKEL: DISY leadership employs tactic of other, dark times
  • Erdogan: Threatens with unilateral moves a few days after Idlib agreement


On Greece’s side

Cyprus, showing its solidarity in action, sent a 21-person unit of MMAD to Evros. Sending MMAD’s anti-protestor unit was agreed yesterday during a phone conversation between Anastasiadis – Mitsotakis, after a proposal by the President and its acceptance by the Greek prime minister.

  • Alarm at a police station and an army camp in Nicosia: Coronavirus is winking at us – Detainee and soldier that had recently been to Patra in quarantine. Medical examinations for everyone who came into contact with them.
  • Erdogan to his grandson: “The small child runs to save itself from the bad uncles, the Greeks”
  • Migration: Assymetric threat or well set-up trap?
  • The works returned: Famagusta’s culture comes to light
  • DISY: “A. Kyprianou harmful to nation. There’s really no medicine for AKEL’s nihilism”

Main News

Government considers further extension of checkpoint closures

Alithia, Haravgi, Phileleftheros, Politis
CBMs, Internal Security, Human Rights, Negotiations Process, Migration & Citizenship, External Security, EU Matters


Phileleftheros reports that President Anastasiades is being pressured in the past few days to reconsider the closure of four checkpoints and will have to decide whether to extend the closure past Monday. Criticisms came from AKEL, the T/C leader and UNFICYP, the newspaper notes.

Government sources cited by the newspaper say that the checkpoints will most likely remain closed in the next few days since there is a real danger of the coronavirus spreading to the island. The same sources added that there should be increased measures in airports and ports as well.

The newspaper recalls that on Tuesday the Cabinet of Ministers will assess possible measures – such as the return of Cypriot state employees working in affected countries – in light of the increased incidents reported in Greece and the two suspected incidents in Cyprus.

Politis reports that the message that is being promoted by the Presidency is that there have been attempts to open the closed checkpoints but that it hasn’t been possible unitl now. The newspaper cites information that the government is more likely to extend the closure of the checkpoints for another week since it was not possible to find the required staff to conduct necessary checks.

At the same time, the newspaper points out, the government has found enough staff to send support to Greek border forces.

In a statement quoted by Phileleftheros, Foreign Minister Nicos Christodoulides insisted that the checkpoints issue is not political but solely an issue related to the protection of public health. He said that everyone should look at the similar problems faced in Europe and the region, and wondered why some thing that the Republic of Cyprus has no authority to decide on these issues.

Christodoulides also avoided commenting directly on a statement by T/C leader Mustafa Akinci who condemned the police’s reaction. Instead he said that the Police was clear on what took place and added that it is not correct to politicise a public health issue.

Politis also reports on a statement by DISY, made as a reply to accusations made by AKEL secretary general Andros Kyprianou on Saturday that the President should have been more careful in order to convince the UN that he is reliable and truly interested in a solution.

In its statement, DISY said that Kyprianou is being harmful to national interests, adding that the AKEL leader once again bases his reactions on unreliable information. DISY insists that there is no political aspect to the losure of the checkpoints and adds that there is no medicine for AKEL’s nihilistic criticism.

AKEL official Christos Christofides responded by saying that the government is using totalitarian rhetoric against its critics. Christofidis added that AKEL had been asking for a week what the scientific basis for the measures is but there was no reply. He further accused the government of creating divisions in public opinion and that it is failing to face Turkey’s actions effectively.

Christodoulides (Foreign minister)
>> The checkpoints issue is not political but concerns only the protection of public health

>> Andros Kyprianou is being harmful to national interests and bases his statements once again on unreliable information

Christofides (AKEL)
>> Government is using totalitarian rhetoric against ctitics
>> AKEL has not received an answer to question on what scientific basis the closure of the checkpoints was decided

RoC sends anti-riot police to assist Greece at border with Turkey

Alithia, Haravgi, Phileleftheros, Politis
Migration & Citizenship, Human Rights, Regional/ International Relations, EU Matters


The dailies report on the government’s decision to send anti-riot police (MMAD) to assist Greek police and military forces on the border with Turkey. According to the dailies, the Police had not been informed of the President’s intentions before he mad the offer to Greek prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

Alithia reports on statements made by the Minister for Justice Yiorgos Savvides, during the unit’s departure for Greece. Savvides said that the 21 men of the anti-riot unit will remain in Greece for as long as it is necessary.

The newspaper reports that the riot police unit will be participating in the efforts to prevent migrants and refugees from entering Greece.

Dailies also report that Turkish President Tayip Erdogan will be visiting Brussels on Monday and will have meetings with European Council President Charles Michel and Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

According to Phileleftheros, Greece and Cyprus are coordinating over the migration issue ahead of Erdogan’s visit to Brussels. The newspaper recalls that Erdogan is expected to ask for a revamping of the Turkey – EU agreement on migration as well as a renewed consideration of the relations with the EU. These aims are laid out in a document sent by Ankara to Turkish embassies in the EU and which was published by Phileleftheros on Sunday.

The newspaper cites a statement by the government spokesperson, who said President Anastasiades had a long telephone conversation with Greek prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis. Anastasiades also talked on the phone with Michel to reiterate Cyprus’ position.

Cyprus News Agency reports that Foreign Minister Nicos Christodoulides was asked to comment on reports regarding Erdogan’s visit. He said that Turkey’s attempt to blackmail the EU cannot be accepted, despite the belief by one or two states that further financial help to Turkey will prevent it from taking actions such as the ones seen on the Greco-Turkish border.

Christodoulides added that RoC’s position is to support Turkey’s accession process to the EU but that whether this will progress is dependent exclusively on Turkey.

CNA also report on statements made by DISY leader Averof Neophytou. Neophytou said that the Republic of Cyprus is in danger of seeing its demographics changed because of migration, not only in the occupied areas but also in the government controlled areas. He took care to add that he has never been and will never be racist.

Neophytou said that Cyprus shouldn’t be used by trafficker rings which add to the problems created by Turkey’s campaign of sending migrants to the island. The DISY leader pointed the finger to non government organisations, saying that he respects their work but that some use NGOs to play games with asylum policies in order to make money.

Neophytou said that he will take iniatives in order to strengthen the rules governing transparency and regulation of NGOs that “built an industry of millions of euros causing many problems in our country”. According to Neophytou, Cyprus is perhaps the only country in the world where everyone is under regulations except for NGOs.

Savvidis (Justice Minister)
>> Anti-riot unit will remain in Greece for as long as necessary

Christodoulides (Foreign Minister)
>> Turkey’s attempt to blackmail EU cannot be accepted
>> One or two states believe that Turkey should be helped financially

Neophytou (DISY)
>> Not only occupied areas but also government controlled areas could be in danger because of migration
>> Some use NGOs to play game with asylum policies and make millions while causing damage to our country
>> Perhaps the only country in the world where NGOs are not being regulated

Artwork recovered from Famagusta to be exhibited for the wider public

CBMs, Human Rights


Alithia publishes an interview with the member of the bicommunal Technical Committee on Culture Yiannis Toumazis, who is also the curator of an upcoming exchibtion of the 219 works returned from Famagusta as part of an exchange of artworks and recordings between the two sides.

The exhibition titled “Ksanagennisi” (Rebirth) will be held from March 14th to April 30th in the new State Contenporary Art Gallery, better known as SPEL from the name of the building hosting the institution in Nicosia’s old city.

The works by Greek Cypriot and Greek artists come from public spaces and houses in the fenced-off city of Varosha in Famagusta, and had been considered missing until 1974. Recently they were displayed in a short lived exhibition at Ledra Palace, together with sound and video recordings of Turkish Cypriot artists and musicians that had been in CyBC’s archives since 1963.

Toumazis, who also worked on identifying the works, told Alithia that Turkish Cypriot artists and members of the bicommunal committee were central in the effort to return the works to the Greek Cypriot community. The effort culminated in an agreement by President Anastasiades and T/C leader Mustafa Akinci to exchange the works, in February 2019.

According to Toumazis, 140 of the works are believed to have originally been exhibited at Famagusta’s Municipal Gallery, 41 came from the house of Famagustan artist Georgios Pol. Georgiou and 24 were works of Nicosian artist Stelios Votsis that had just been returned from an exhibit dedicated to his work in London, but had stayed in Famagusta’s port.

Toumazis added he believes it would be good if all 219 works were exhibited permanently in the same space, but pointed out that the owner of each painting will have the last word.

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