GCC Press Review 10 Sep 2020

Front Page Headlines

Politis

Turkish Cypriots cut connection with Turkey

Incoming COVID-19 cases led to closing of airport and ports. Hundreds of passengers on flights from Turkey trapped in Tymbou airport as quarantine spaces in hotels were full. Chaos and complaints due to lack of information. Local lock downs and measures that return the situation to last March when the first wave of the pandemic appeared. Tatar announced that patients will be transferred to Turkey. Schools and all entertainment centres will be closed until October 1st. Religious ceremonies banned, and all students going to the occupied areas for “university” after 20 September will have to quarantine for seven days.

  • Paphos district: They grab prime T/C plots

Phileleftheros

Actions, not words needed from EU

Lenience towards Turkey ineffective, President told Michel – Merkel. Marathon of contacts by the Foreign Minister.

  • Issue of closing checkpoints at the Cabinet of Ministers: Panic in the occupied areas, flights stop, theatres and casinos close, schools close
  • Famagusta issue in front of European Parliament
  • Parliament is not obliged to hand over documents
  • 950,000 euros without application process to support enclaved

Haravgi

Insufficient controls for money laundering

Fines and permit recalls for two companies. Lawyers and Ministry of Interior were obliged to be investigating. Involvement and questions over Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General.

  • They lay the ground in Corsica (MED 7 Summit)!
  • Investigations stayed in drawers… AKEL asks to be informed
  • Contradictory policy regarding Russia… Messages on Varosha through Moscow

Cyprus Mail

Fire guts Lesbos migrants’ camp

Thousands homeless after suspected arson, whereabouts of 35 migrants with virus unknown.

Alithia

Coronavirus out of control

Occupied areas on the verge of chaos. Cases have exploded and patients increase, hospital beds are full. Flights to illegal Tymbou airport stop until 13/9 – Ships limited as well. Pre-election campaign also affected – Gatherings and mass meetings cancelled. Motion of censure against “government” – “Quit so that we can calm down”.

  • Attack on corruption: The excuse that “I didn’t know” is not enough: Bar Association: Lawyer permits were recalled and fines were imposed – 700 checks on site. Five companies checked for illegal incomes from naturalisations
  • Dem. Papadakis: Dirty job came from occupied areas

Main News

Anastasiades speaks with EU leaders ahead of MED7 and European Council

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

OVERVIEW

President Anastasiades participated in a teleconference with European Council President Charles Michel and German chancellor Angela Merkel, whose country currently holds the rotating presidency of the Council of the EU, on Wednesday night, the dailies report.

According to a statement by deputy government spokesperson Panayiotis Sentonas before the meeting, the call also included the leaders of Estonia, Hungary, Italy, Poland and Slovenia, and was one in a series of group teleconferences in preparation of the upcoming European Council on September 24th.

According to information cited by Phileleftheros, President Anastasiades asked of President Michel and chancellor Merkel that the EU go from words to actions, and that he noted that the EU’s leniency towards Turkey has proven to be ineffective.

Phileleftheros cites the same sources to report that the EU and Germany have not yet arrived at an answer on how to deal with Turkey’s actions. The sources add that Michel and Merkel reiterated their solidarity and understanding of the positions expressed by Greece and Cyprus, and that they said the discussion will continue at the next European Council.

On Thursday President Anastasiades will be participating in the MED7 summit in Corsica where the leaders of the seven southern members of the EU are expected to focus on the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean. Haravgi reports that France aims to use the meeting in order to pave the ways for effective sanctions against Turkey.

In a statement regarding the MED7 summit, Sentonas said that the countries involved will look for common ground and coordinate regarding issues concerning the future of Europe as well as the need for the EU to seek a new ambitious policy for the Mediterranean.

Haravgi also reports that Greek prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis will meet French President Emmanuel Macron on the margins of the summit, to discuss Greece’s intention to buy Rafale fighter aircraft from France.

German MEP and president of the parliamentary group of the EPP in the European Parliament Manfred Weber has said he disagreed with German Foreign Minister Heiko Mass’s role as a mediator between Greece and Turkey, Alithia reports. Weber said that since a member state of the EU is in conflict with a third country, it should go without saying that the EU and Germany would be on the side of Greece.

Phileleftheros also reports that Foreign Minister Nicos Christodoulides has been having telephone conversations with this EU counterparts, and has so far talked with the FMs of Greece, Germany, Spain, Sweden and Estonia.

Also, the Foreign Minister and the president of governing DISY Averof Neophytou have taken on separate initiatives addressed at the European Parliament regarding the issue of Varosha. The Foreign Minister has sent letters to the leaders of the political groups, while Neophytou will talk to representatives of the Famagustians before briefing EPP leader Manfred Weber.

In related news, the dailies report that Christodoulides told CyBC radio on Wednesday that Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov did not raise the issue of Cyprus’s increased cooperation with the US during his meetings with President Anastasiades and himself on Tuesday. Christodoulides also said that the government will not changing its policy towards Moscow, including when it comes to providing facilities to Russian vessels for humanitarian reasons.

Phileleftheros reports, citing information, that during his visit the Russian FM said his country wants to have a central role in the future of the Cyprus Problem.

In a statement regarding the visit AKEL said that it was an opportunity to reaffirm the friendship between the two countries, and underlined Russia’s clear position for the need for a quick return to negotiations on the basis of UN resolution, and the need for an end to the 1960s system of guarantees.

However, AKEL points out, the government cannot aim to strengthen relations with Russia while celebrating US moves such as the Menendez – Rubio bill which requires Cyprus to turn against Russia.


Spike in COVID-19 in north causes new concerns over checkpoints

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

OVERVIEW

The G/C press extensively covers the decision by the T/C authorities to return to a partial lockdown as a result of a spike in new cases of COVID-19, which include the closure of the Tymbou airport until 13/9 and the limiting of visits from Turkey.

Phileleftheros reports that the change in the epidemiological situation in the north has caused concerns for the RoC authorities and that the issue was discussed by the Cabinet of Ministers on Wednesday. No decisions were taken by the ministers, other than that the government will continue monitoring the situation in order to impose measures at the checkpoints if necessary.

The newspaper cites information that Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou was instructed to seek information on the situation from the north through the bicommunal Technical Committee for Health.

Politis cites information that the RoC has not so far received a request for assistance from the T/C community, but does not rule out providing any help if it is asked.

Cyprus Mail reports that 19 new cases were detected in the occupied areas on Wednesday, two of which had come from the airport, one from the port, six from contacts and the rest from community spread. “Prime minister” Ersin Tatar stated that new cases will be sent to Turkey, while the parties of the T/C opposition are demanding that he steps down.

Meanwhile three new cases were detected in the government controlled areas on Tuesday, bringing the total number of cases to 1,514, the dailies report. One of the cases was detected in the Pournara migrant detention centre that had arrived to Cyprus from Turkey through the occupied areas, the second is a man that had arrived from Philippines to work on a ship and the third is a Cypriot who displayed symptoms and asked to be tested.


T/C properties in Paphos district targeted by prospectors

Politis
Property, Economy

OVERVIEW

Yeroskipou mayor Michalis Pavlides has said that persons posing as mediators are approaching the T/C owners of properties in the area that have been leased by the municipality from the Interior Ministry (who acts as the guardian of T/C properties in the south), Politis reports.

According to Pavlides, these persons want to buy the properties, which are now being used by the municipality in the public’s interest. Pavlides also said that he has appealed to the Minister of the Interior asking him to intervene.

The newspaper reports citing information that the issue came up when the municipality attempted to lease a T/C property on Yeroskipou’s beach front to use as a parking area.


Video used in EDEK internal clash posted by IP address from the north

Alithia, Haravgi, Phileleftheros
Internal Security

OVERVIEW

The dailies report that MEP Demetris Papadakis is accusing the leadership of socialist party EDEK of using an IP registered in the north to spread a video which aimed to undermine him after he was kicked out of the party.

In an announcement issued by Papadakis’s office, the MEP quotes a letter received by the Police dated August 27th informing him that the video in question had been uploaded through an IP address in the occupied areas. The MEP adds in his statement that “those that worked to undermine [him] through illegal recordings and posts have no qualms to use even the occupied areas for their dirty deeds”.

EDEK responded with a statement saying that the findings confirm the party was not involved in spreading the video. The party also adds that “it is well known that EDEK has no contact with the occupied areas and had no reason to publicise such a video several days after he was already removed from the party”.

The video purported to prove that Papadakis’s MEP office in Nicosia had been used to also run a private business, something which is against party rules. The video was uploaded on February 13th by an unknown person who had attached a camera on his hand watch.