GCC Press Review 15 Dec 2020

Front Page Headlines


First time without a state budget

The pandemic created new conditions in view of the crucial vote. The possible postponement but also remote voting will be discussed at the leaders’ meeting. The smaller opposition parties, at least, do not seem to be changing their minds for the time being and ask to see specific provisions in the budget. DIKO insists on the requirement for delivery of naturalisation files to the auditor-general at risk of causing a financial heart attack.

  • Occupied areas: Ban on crossings until Christmas
  • Parliamentary elections: DIKO’s 56 chosen ones
  • A five-minute whirlwind in the Astromeritis area swept away everything!


Relaxations for malls-churches

Pressure expedites decisions on lifting some restrictions due to the holidays. The health minister will hold a teleconference today with the malls.

  • They are opening our churches for events in the occupied areas
  • DIKO announced its 56 candidates
  • The whirlwind brought destruction and despair – Damage and homeless people in five communities.


Everything is possible on the budget vote

Scenarios for postponing discussion on the budget in the parliament plenary session are being discussed under the weight of the coronavirus cases but also of the possible rejection of the budget. If there are no changes, the discussion will start normally in the afternoon in the absence of N. Papadopoulos and M. Mousiouttas.

  • The crossing points are closing for TCs working in the free areas
  • Incalculable damage and uprooting (due to the whirlwind)

Cyprus Mail

Storms batter much of island

Dozens of homes severely damaged in whirlwind, govt pledges help.  


Parliament: three days of suspense!

Scenarios also for the postponement of the discussion due to coronavirus and backstage consultations. The picture will be made clearer at the (party) leaders’ meeting in the morning.

  • They are closing the crossings from today
  • Destructive whirlwind – The residents of the villages of semi-mountainous Nicosia experienced terror, images of biblical disaster. (Interior Minister) Nicos Nouris: All those whose houses have been deemed uninhabitable will be given €2,000 in aid.

Main News

‘No change in good relations with Israel’

Haravgi, Phileleftheros
Regional/International Relations, EU Matters, External Security


Phileleftheros reports that President Nicos Anastasiades on Monday held a telephone conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Government spokesman Kyriacos Koushos said that Anastasiades discussed with Netanyahu the pandemic and developments in the Eastern Mediterranean. The conversation took place in the framework of the frequent contacts between the two leaders, he said.

During their telephone conversation, Anastasiades briefed Netanyahu on the latest developments in the Eastern Mediterranean and exchanged views on regional developments which threaten peace and stability in the region, Koushos said.

According to the paper, Nicosia has again received assurances from Jerusalem that nothing has changed as regards the two countries’ relations, adding that these assurances were also a response to reports that Turkey was reaching out to Israel. Israel clarified that any improvement in its relations with Turkey will not be to the detriment of its relations with Cyprus, the paper reported.

Phileleftheros, in the same article, but also Haravgi, report that in Athens, government spokesman Stelios Petsas said the European Council (EUCO) had taken another step in pressuring Turkey to de-escalate tensions in the region as it condemned Turkish provocations in the Eastern Mediterranean against Greece and Cyprus, but also against the Union itself. At the same time, it stressed that it is expanding the list of persons subject to sanctions and the entities involved in illegal drilling in the Eastern Mediterranean and instructed the High Representative for Foreign Affairs but also the European Commission to submit a written report by March 2021 on the whole range of Euro-Turkish relations, including Customs Union, Petsas said.

Haravgi reports that according to Petsas, the EUCO’s decisions were a step in the desired direction, but at a slower pace than what Athens would have wished.

In another article, Phileleftheros, citing Der Spiegel magazine, reports that Bijan Djir-Sarai, MP of Germany’s Free Democratic Party and in charge of foreign policy issues, referred to Turkish provocations against Cyprus and Greece and suggested to the party’s parliamentary group a resolution calling on the government to annul the approval granted in 2009 for the sale of arms to Turkey, including the sale of six submarines by ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems. Sarai told the magazine that this should apply as long as Turkey acts in violation of international law and continues to not treat the European Union as a partner and with respect. The resolution also calls for an end to Turkey’s EU accession negotiations in their current form and the suspension of payment of Customs Union funds.

The magazine reports that a similar proposal against arms supply to Turkey was submitted to the federal parliament by German politicians at the end of October and the Greens, for which, however, no vote has yet been taken. Der Spiegel also reports that the German government continues to insist on the delivery of the submarines on the grounds that Germany must comply with the agreed contracts. So far, however, the report states that the federal government has not exported equipment to Turkey that could be used in the war in Syria, but that supplies of equipment for the maritime sector are still approved, Phileleftheros reports.

Changes on crossings by north

Alithia, Cyprus Mail, Haravgi, Phileleftheros, Politis
CBMs, Economy, EU Matters, Regional/International Relations


The dailies report on the decision by the TC side to ban TCs living in the north and working in the south from crossing between the two sides until after December 25.

Politis reports that the new decisions by the pseudo state as regards combating the pandemic create serious problems since, among other things, in essence, they keep the crossing points closed from today and until Christmas.

The daily reports that further restrictions exclude the Kato Pyrgos residents but also TC pupils and students, as well as patients who receive treatment in the free areas. However, they do not exclude the residents of the Maronite villages and those who wish to visit the enclaved.  

The cases that have occurred in the last 24 hours in the occupied areas have alarmed everyone again as it is not easy to find out where they come from while the daily three-digit cases in the free areas intensify the concern on both sides of the island, Politis reports.

Alithia reports that the crossings are closing from today and up to December 25.

In another article concerning the north, Phileleftheros, citing reports in TC media, reports that TC leader Ersin Tatar, has yet to receive any invitation from Azerbaijan to attend events in Baku in honour of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for his support during the war against Armenia in Nagorno Karabakh.

It seems that a collective effort is underway in the occupied areas for a trip to Baku which will of course be presented as the ‘recognition of the TRNC’, following Tatar’s rhetoric that in Cyprus there are two states. The daily reported, citing a report in Gunes, that ‘parliament vice president’ Zorlu Tore had a meeting with Azeris living in the occupied areas.

The daily reports that following the first announcements made by the TC leader, there were moves in the direction of the Azeris to avoid such an invitation, Phileleftheros reports. Citing information, it adds that there have been moves by the European Union itself and that, for now, these actions have prevented Tatar from traveling to Azerbaijan.

The fact that an invitation has not been sent so far, does not mean that the risk has been averted if one considers Ankara’s influence over the government of Azerbaijan, the paper reported. It is considered certain that if Baku is asked by Turkey to invite Tatar this will happen but because the game is played by Turkey, it is estimated that any move in this direction will be at a time when Ankara wants, the paper reported.

EVKAF plans to open more churches for cultural events

Property, EU Matters


The daily reports that EVKAF, after its unfounded claims over its property in the fenced-area of Varosha, is now raising the issue of churches in the occupied areas which are being restored with EU funds.

According to the paper, in an audacious statement, EVKAF claims that it is in charge of the churches in the occupied areas and that it will open restored churches to host social and cultural events so that they do not remain unused.

The paper recalled that a few days ago, the illegal authorities of Lefkoniko, in cooperation with EVKAF held a bazaar in the church of Archangelos Michael while in 2009 the church of Panayia Odigitria in the old part of Nicosia was turned into a cultural centre.

Judging by EVKAF’s announcement, however, it seems that the use of churches for such events will not be uncommon, the daily reported.

Citing daily Vatan, the paper reports that EVKAF claimed that it is in charge of churches in the north and that it spent a lot of money for their conservation. It also reportedly said that one must not forget that EVKAF is a 450-year-old institution which exerts great effort to restore and protect all places of worship with its budget. Just for the Apostolos Andreas monastery, it paid €2.5m while it showed the same approach for other churches. It also said that EU officials turned to it on this matter and said that churches restored with EU funds are being ruined when they are not used and therefore, must be used by hosting cultural events.

It added that it offers municipalities support for maintaining the churches and that they started using them for some events and protecting them from damage.

Citing another report in Hakikat, the daily reports that TC leader Ersin Tatar last week, referred to EVKAF’s archives as regards title deeds in Varosha during a meeting with the foundation’s chairman. Tatar reportedly said that the validity of the title deeds as regards Varosha can be shown in EVKAF’s archive. He also said that due to the struggles of the former TC leader community leader Dr Fazil Kucuk, during British rule, the EVKAF administration came under the TCs.

Tatar argued that the policy pursued in Varosha was not contrary to international law, adding that EVKAF’s rights would not be violated by the internationally recognised Immovable Property Commission, the daily reports.

DIKO presents parliament election candidates

Phileleftheros, Politis
Governance & Power Sharing


DIKO announced on Monday its 56 candidates in all districts for May’s parliamentary elections, the dailies report.

Its candidates are 41 party members and 15 others. The ticket includes 13 women, 11 people under 40, while the candidates come from over 20 professional circles.

DIKO’s leader Nicolas Papadopoulos is among the Nicosia district candidates.

Papadopoulos said that the party’s district tickets were the ideal combination of personalities with significant social contribution and intense activity in the country’s economic life, with management experience but also consistent participation in the course and action of the Democratic Party.

He also said that, as of today, DIKO continues stronger in the fight against the DISY government’s entanglement and corruption but also the effort for the protection and continuation of the Republic of Cyprus and a proper functional and democratic solution to the Cyprus problem. He also pledged that his party would continue to struggle to support society and restore middle class, but also for education, health, culture and the environment, the dailies reported.

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