GCC Press Review 16 May 2020

Front Page Headlines

Politis

End of championship with “fixed” whistle

Teams go to the changing rooms for this year as expected. Omonoia goes to the stars of Champions League and Anorthosi warms up ahead of a legal challenge. A central disagreement over the possibility of a suspected case led to the decision taken.

  • Checkpoints: Intense pressure from the Turkish Cypriots
  • F. Times: “Russian” Cyprus

Phileleftheros

Local lockdowns for focal points

The plan for the next steps to control the coronavirus – Scientists give green light for the next phase. Hesitation over the possibility of restarting flights.

  • Halloumi from the occupied areas in Izmir: Erdogan’s people do business with our traditional product
  • Also Lillikas proposal for only two terms for MEPs: Ten state deputies in M. Sizopoulos proposal
  • EU calls Turkey to have dialogue with RoC
  • Sizopoulos – Lillikas flirt with cooperation

Haravgi

Sloppiness that victimises the students!

They said one thing, they decided something else and are doing something else! Lyceum years 1 and 2 and kindergartens stay home. Disagreements for live transmission from classes…

  • Anastasiades: “I made a lot of money”
  • Cooperation of two communities necessary. Protest by T/Cs over checkpoints
  • Charalambos Ellinas: Immediate decisions on Hoegh LNG proposal

Cyprus Mail

A green light for phase two

Scientists say they recommended to the president to lift more restrictions.

  • ‘Let us cross over to work’: Turkish Cypriots who work in the Republic protest to return

Alithia

Full steam ahead

The epidemiological team gave “green light” to the President to move with applying the new phase of loosening and of returning to normality from May 21st.

  • EU FMs: Intense condemnation of Turkey’s illegal actions in the Cypriot EEZ
  • New protest by T/Cs: They ask to return to their workplaces

Main News

EU FMs welcome RoC call to Turkey for EEZ negotiations

Alithia, Cyprus Mail, Haravgi, Phileleftheros, Politis
Energy, External Security, Regional/ International Relations, EU Matters

OVERVIEW

The dailies report on a statement released by the Foreign Affairs Council of the EU on Friday, in whicch the 27 Foreign Ministers called on Turkey to respond to the RoC’s invitation to negotiate in good fairh over delineation of their maritime zones.

In the statement, the FAC welcomes the proposal by the Cypriot government to Turkey to negotiate over maritime claims, and underlines that Turkey’s recent actions in the Eastern Mediterranean move in the opposite direction. The Foreign Ministers also express their displeasure for the fact that Turkey has not responded to the EU’s repeated calls to put an end to its behaviour.

The FAC also calls on Turkey to avoid threats and actions that harm good neighborly relations, and insists that the country should respect international law especially regarding the sovereignty of all member states of the EU in their maritime areas, including the maritime areas of islands.

Phileleftheros reports that the Cypriot government is satisfied with the result of the discussion which was held via teleconference and presided over by EU High Representative for foreighn affairs Josep Borrell.

Diplomatic sources also told the newspaper that the government is particularly pleased with the fact that the EU is adopting the RoC’s proposal to Turkey to enter into negotiations for delineation of maritime areas.


T/C labourers ask to cross for work without 14-day quarantine

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

OVERVIEW

Phileleftheros reports on repeated protests by T/C workers that are employed in the south. The newspaper notes that the T/C workers ask that they be allowed to return to their work without having to be quarantined for 14 days.

Politis points out that the T/C workers are protesting primarily against the T/C “government” for closing down all checkpoints, which has prevented them from coming to an arrangement with their employers or receiving their salaries.

Phileleftheros also points out that T/C head of the bicommunal Technical Committee on Health, Cenk Soydan, told YeniDuzen that the T/C side has not made any suggestions regarding the reopening of the checkpoints.

Pancyprian Federation of Labour (PEO) issued an announcement expressing solidarity to T/C workers, and called for steps to allow them to return to work while respecting the necessary health measures.

In another development, Phileleftheros reported that the government’s position on reopening the checkpoints is that it will happen when epidemiological conditions allow it. Government spokesperson Kyriakos Koushios made this statement while commenting on a letter sent by UNSG Antonio Guterres, in which Guterres asks for the strengthening of the bicommunal Technical Committees and for the two sides to cooperate to reopen the checkpoints.

Koushios reiterated that the decision to reopen will not be political and that the decision to suspend some of the checkpoints in the beginning of the crisis was not political either. He also said that President Anastasiades is ready to speak with T/C leader Mustafa Akinci when necessary.

In a statement, AKEL underlined that Guterres insisted on the need to strengthen cooperation. The opposition party believes that bicommunal cooperation can contribute to solving problems in daily life as well as in facing large challenges such as the pandemic.

Right wing party Solidarity rejected Guterres’s letter, saying that the UNSG is repeating Mustafa Akinci’s position that the checkpoints should reopen by joint decision without taking dangers into account. The party adds that the checkpoints are a strong weapon in the RoC’s hands and that’s why they should remain closed.

Haravgi also publishes an interview by Chinese ambassador Huang Xingyuan to the Cyprus News Agency, in which he points out that the two sides should maintain a dialogue and negotiations. When asked about the call by T/C politicians for the “TRNC” to become a member of the WHO, Huang drew a parallel with similar attempts made by Taiwan and pointed out that only sovereign states can become members.


Halloumi produced in Turkey sold in Arab countries

Phileleftheros
Economy, Regional/ International Relations

OVERVIEW

Phileleftheros reports that Turkish companies produce white cheese which they brand and sell as halloumi, which they then import to Arab countries without facing any challenge. According to the report, Izmir-based Turkish company “Pinar” is exporting halloumi which is marked as having been produced in “Nicosia, Northern Cyprus for Pinar”.

The report points out that the company is ignoring the recommendations of the European Union regarding halloumi.

The newspaper points out that the company is part of the Yasar Holding Group, headed by AKP supporters Selim Yasar and Selcuk Yasar. The Yasar Holding Group is active in Europe, Turkey and the Middle East.

The business group is also reported to have withdrawn funding from Izmir’s Karsiyaka basketball team when the city voted against granting President Erdogan additional powers in 2017. The sponsporship was reinstated after customers boycotted Yasar products.


EDEK suggests addition of 7 G/C and 3 T/C MPs statewide

Phileleftheros
Governance & Power Sharing

OVERVIEW

EDEK president Marinos Sizopoulos has suggested that the House of Representatives add 10 seats which will be voted as state deputies from a unified ballot paper from all districts, rather than by voters of individual districts.

If approved the proposal would see the creation of 7 new G/C seats and three new T/C seats, bringing the total combined number of G/C and T/C seats in the House of Representatives from 80 to 90. The proposal would take effect during the next parliamentary elections.

Phileleftheros recalls that today only 56 out of 80 seats are taken, and 24 seats are vacant, due to the fact that T/Cs do not participate in the RoC government.

Sizopoulos told Phileleftheros that the reason for his proposal is that Cyprus has the smallest number of MPs in the EU, smaller even than Malta, resulting in the House being unable to staff all the parliamentary committees needed. He added that ideally the new state deputies should be as many as 20, but that the EDEK proposal is less ambitious due to the difficult economic situation.

In a related development, Citizens’ Alliance president Yiorgos Lillikas suggested an amendment to the legislation in order to introduce a limit of two terms for MEPs, while Greens president Yiorgos Perdikis has submitted again a proposal to establish horizontal voting, which would allow voters to select candidates from more than one party.