GCC Press Review 22 Mar 2020

Front Page Headlines

Sunday Mail

A ‘hotel stay’ under guard

Over 1,200 people in quarantine at various hotels as lockdown starts.

  • Rejected migrant boat taken in by north
  • Cyprus: How the Covid-19 virus seperated a bicommunal couple


Global economic war for coronavirus

The need to protect health and human life on the agenda of international politics. Balances of power overturned and fears of extreme phenomena because of competition. EU changes market rules to face the crisis. What the provision of 1.4 billion euro from the Central Bank means for Cyprus. How the European Development Bank supports companies. 36% of government bonds have zero returns. Assesments by economy analysts on joblessness push number of jobs lost to 25 million. Ten days ago there was talk of 4 million jobless. The free fall in oil prices and how China is given the opportunity to gain advantage against competitors. Energy war between Russia – USA – Saudi Arabia – China intensifies. ECB increases liquidity by freeing a total of 2.3 trillion euro.

  • Greco-Turkish (relations) – Cyprus Problem: Coronavirus “convenient” for lurking, would-be invaders
  • Evros: How Cypriot policemen secure the borders of Greece and Europe


How Cypriots consume in the era of the coronavirus

Research by RetailZoon for “P”. Cypriots emptied supermarket shelves due to fear of developments, turning their houses into food storages. Compared to the same period in 2019, purchases by consumers increased from 31% to 41%. 100% increase in soaps, cleaning products and other disinfectants observed. Why do we buy toilet paper?

  • The Constitution and the return of Cypriots
  • Europe: Mea culpa for underestimation


Paphos in great danger

Powerful chain of virus girdles the city – Dramatic SOS from (Paphos mayor) Faidonos. Among the patients a pilot detected after showing symptoms.

  • They create faits accomplis: Coronavirus does not put break on Turkish designs
  • The battle of Evros and the Turkish plans


We are strong, we will defeat the coronavirus

Four health professionals talk to “K” about their determination and will to win the fight against the pandemic. We are not afraid of the coronavirus, but we call citizens to stay in their homes.

  • Health system and army the problems in the occupied areas
  • Turkey follows in the steps of Italy
  • Cyprus Problem: How coronavirus sets the game
  • Stella Kyriakidou: We should succeed in slowing down the disease
  • Archbishop Chrystostomos II: It is not a sin if we don’t take Communion


Immediate involvement of all health providers

  • Problem in patient transfer from Pyrgo Tyllirias


The most diffult times are coming

The coronavirus will be tamed but the Cypriot economy should expect difficult times. Even in the optimistic scenario that cases will be begin to dissappear by May – if we absolutely obey all protection measures – the effects of the crisis will take many months to overcome so we return.

  • Article – intervention: Immediate rooting out of illegal migration an absolute need

Main News

Migrant boat rejected by RoC due to coronavirus taken in by the north

Alithia, Haravgi, Kathimerini, Phileleftheros, Politis, Simerini, Sunday Mail
Internal Security, Human Rights, CBMs, External Security, Migration & Citizenship, EU Matters

Cyprus Mail reports that on Saturday the Turkish Cypriots took in the group of 175 Syrian migrants that had been denied entry by the RoC government on Friday. The migrants arrived in Trikomo in the Famagusta region of the occupied areas, after having been turned away from landing near Cape Greco in the government controlled areas.

The newspaper reports that the T/C health “minister” Ali Pilli said the migrants were being tested and monitored at the hospital in Famagusta. The newspaper recalls that the police spokesperson in the government controlled areas, Christos Andreou, said that the migrants were refused entry as per the instructions given by the government due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Cyprus Mail cites a report by Kibris Postasi according to which the fishing boat was carrying 30 women, 69 children and 76 men, all Syrians.

Politis reports that the RoC’s marine police went to deter the boat from heading to shore, bringing with it fuel, supplies and water. The occupants are reported to have refused the help when they were told that the supplies were intended to help them return to the country from which they had sailed.

Haravgi reports, citing information given by the migrants themselves, that UNFICYP had originally told the boat that it would be allowed to land in the government controlled areas before the RoC’s marine police ordered that they turn around. According to the same sources, the food and water offered was insufficient.

Haravgi also reports that the G/C police is said to have made the migrants throw their phones in the sea. The boat then capsised and the migrants swam to the shore where they were picked up by the T/C authorities. The newspaper notes that this is the first time migrants are actively repelled from entering Cyprus and that human rights organisations are criticising the government.

Kathimerini reports that the National Guard is also on alert after an incident was found and that the floor where the afflicted officer was working has been shut off.

Kathimerini also reports citing sources that the T/C “government” is concerned about the possibility of the coronavirus coming to the occupied areas throuth the Green Line, and specifically Pyla, as well as Tymbou airport. There is also major concern regarding the health system of the community after the fire in the main hospital of north Nicosia, as well as the Turkish army.

Coronavirus shuffles the deck ahead of eventual resumption of CyProb talks

Internal Security, CBMs, Negotiations Process, Governance & Power Sharing

In an analysis Kathimerini points out that the postponment of the elections in the occupied areas due to the coronavirus, as well as the global crisis in general, has pushed any new development in the Cyprus Problem to the end of the year.

The newspaper notes that despite the virus, developments such as the closure of the checkpoints, the plans that were publicised regarding reopening Varosha, as well as the migrant crisis in the Greco-Turkish border are indicative of developments to come. Any developments during this are are not expected to be positive for the G/C side, the newspaper notes.

Kathimerini cites government sources that believe that if President Anastasiades had informed T/C leader Mustafa Akinci before announcing the initial closures of checkpoints he could have prevented the in-fighting between the two communities and in G/C society. The newspaper also notes that the government was annoyed with the T/C side for not sending its samples of suspected coronavirus cases to the Institute for Genetics and Neurology, as was agreed, but to Turkey.

The newspaper points out that the spread of the coronavirus on both sides and the decision made by the T/C “government” to close the checkpoints, as well as Akinci’s statement that he was not informed of the T/C side’s decision, has brought the two community leaders back into constant communication. Kathimerini reports, citing diplomatic sources, that the G/C side recently offered to cooperate regarding medical supplies.

In a different story, Kathimerini reports that during the discussion between Akinci and the T/C political parties regarding the postponment of the election, the T/C leader insisted on remaining “president” for the transitional period leading to October. His position was supported by left wing parties CTP and TDP. The allies in “government”, right wing UBP and centre right HP, were reserved and said that it should first be clarified whether this would be in line with the “TRNC’s” constitution.

Kathimerini cites a T/C source belonging in the camp opposing Akinci as saying that the person who will be seen as succesfully handling the coronavirus crisis is very likely to win the election and set the tone for the next day of the Cyprus Problem.