GCC Press Review 11 May 2021

Front Page Headlines


They are testing… our patience

The people pay the price of delays as regards vaccinations by having to wait in long queues. The safepass is a temporary measure, the health ministry says, while people continue to suffer unbelievable hardship by having to wait under the sun at the testing sites.

  • Parliamentary elections: Battle for entry to parliament


Record with 650 candidates

200 mobile polling stations due to the pandemic. The cost of the elections exceeds the €3.6m budget. AKEL’s court appeal for the (parties’) name to be examined today.

  • The French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle is in Limassol


Premiere for the safepass with unbelievable difficulties and protests

Strong reaction to the rapid test by people and retail businesses. They knew there would be mass arrival of people for rapid tests but they did nothing to avoid (the long queues). Employees had to go to private labs.

  • Cyprus problem: Support to the BBF by the TC platform ‘This country is ours’
  • AKEL’s court appeal for the name change
  • AKEL condemns the Israeli attacks at Al-Aqsa

Cyprus Mail

Lockdown lifted, test queues grow

Minister says it’s a ‘big step’ to normality as the public scrambles to have SafePass.

  • It’s almost like the old days at the airport, more flights slated


Everything went smoothly

End to the lockdown, return to normality with smiles. The return to schools was also without any problems. Pupils without rapid test certificates went back home.

  • AKEL insists on the (party) name and appeals to court – Accusations against the government.

Main News

‘EU-Turkey relations linked with Cyprob’

Alithia, Cyprus Mail, Haravgi, Phileleftheros, Politis
EU Matters, Negotiations Process, CBMs


Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides briefed on Monday his EU counterparts on the Geneva talks during the Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) in Brussels.

Alithia and Phileleftheros, citing EU sources, report that the common message from both Christodoulides’ contacts but also High Commissioner Josep Borrell himself, was that there cannot be a change to the Cyprus problems’ solution framework. At the same time, both the High Representative and other officials agreed that the full range of Euro-Turkish relations is directly linked to developments in the Cyprus issue and to the need for Turkey to contribute constructively to efforts to reach a solution on the basis of the existing framework.

Christodoulides told his EU counterparts that the goal of resuming the talks was not achieved due to the Turkish approach to change the basis for a solution to the Cyprus problem. He referred to Turkey’s insistence on a two-state solution outside the framework of the relevant UN Security Council and EU decisions, but also to Ankara’s negative stance on the UN Secretary-General’s (UNSG) proposal to appoint a special representative through the Security Council to explore the prospect of resuming talks in the near future. During his speech, Christodoulides also recalled that the EU’s presence at the talks in Geneva was not made possible, again due to Turkey’s refusal.

As regards the next steps and readiness by the UNSG for convening a new informal conference on the Cyprus issue in the next two to three months but also taking into account the results of the discussion of European leaders last March, he urged EU institutions and the member states to decisively raise the Cyprus issue with Turkey, stressing the need to resume the talks and that the basis for a solution to the Cyprus issue cannot be changed. He also called on them to point out to Turkey that the future of the EU-Turkey relations is linked with developments for the solution of the Cyprus problem.

Borrell referred to his telephone contact with the Turkish Foreign Minister during the informal conference in Geneva and informed the EU FMs that he was in constant contact with the UNSG, strengthening his effort and conveying the EU’s readiness to contribute to the efforts made to reach a solution to the Cyprus problem.

On the margins of the FAC, Christodoulides had meetings with counterparts of his. He discussed the Cyprus problem and the EU-Turkey relations with the FMs of Italy, Spain and Slovenia that will assume the EU Presidency in the second half of the year. He also spoke with the German FM who briefed him on his recent visit by their Turkish counterpart to Germany.

In the meantime, negotiator Andreas Mavrogiannis briefed yesterday around 20 ambassadors accredited to Cyprus for the positions of the GC side to find a solution within the framework set by the UN resolutions during the informal conference on the Cyprus issue in Geneva.

Alithia and Haravgi also report that Tatar is under fire by opposition in the north over his stance at the Geneva talks. The dailies, citing statements by leader of Republican Turkish Party Tufan Erhurman, leader of Communal Democracy Party Cemal Ozyigit and Mehmet Cakici, leader of the Communal Liberation Party, reports that Tatar was strongly criticised yesterday for his stance at the five-party that pushed the TCs further away from the solution of the Cyprus problem.  Alithia reports that Tatar was also criticised for rejecting the confidence-building measures proposed by President Nicos Anastasiades for the opening of the Famagusta port and Tymbou airport with the return of Varosha.

Erhurman, who refused to participate in the briefing by Tatar at the pseudo-parliament over Geneva, said it was clear the proposal for two states and sovereign equality would not be accepted. He also said that after the developments in Geneva it would not be possible to predict when the crossing points would reopen, Alithia reports.

Preparations & objections ahead of House elections

Alithia, Haravgi, Phileleftheros, Politis
Governance & Power Sharing


Politis, citing the latest poll carried out on behalf of Alpha TV by Pulse, aired on Monday evening, reports that the results show, just 20 days before the elections, a multi-party parliament with fragmentation of votes that harms the percentages of the big parties but at the same time creates an uncertainty as regards the parties and the combinations that will enter the House.

According to the poll, that canvassed 1,200 people, ruling DISY, is estimated to get around 26% (23,5%-28,5%), AKEL 23%(20,5%-25,5%), DIKO 12% (10%-14%), ELAM and the Greens around 7% (5,5%-8,5%) each. EDEK is expected to get 6% of the votes, (4,5%-7,5%), Anna Theologou’s Generation Change and DIPA, 3,5% (2,5%- 4,5%) each. The Solidarity Movement is expected to get 3% (2%-4%), Active Citizens-Hunters Party around 2% (1%- 3%) as Famagusta for Cyprus. Awakening 2020 is expected to get around 1,5% (0,5%-2,5%).

The paper reports that 16% of respondents said they are still undecided about who to vote, while 6,5% did not wish to respond to the vote intention question. Another 6% said they would not even vote, Politis reports.

The dailies also report that chief returning officer Menelaos Vasiliou said on Monday the May 30 elections will be costlier than any other as a result of measures that will be followed as part of coronavirus protocols.

There are 557,589 registered voters eligible to vote at the parliamentary elections, including Turkish Cypriots with identity cards issued by the Republic of Cyprus and an address in the government-controlled areas. Among voters, 68,209 are newly registered. The candidacies will be officially submitted tomorrow.

All dallies also report that main opposition AKEL appealed in court after the government’s refusal to allow the party to run in the elections under the same name it has been using the past 30 years and the last 16 elections: AKEL-Left Wing-New Forces. According to the regulations all parties must run under their officially registered name.

The case will be tried on Tuesday morning after AKEL argued this was an urgent case and it is expected it will issue a ruling by May 12, Haravgi reported. In case the court decides in favour of issuing an interim decree, AKEL will be able to run in the elections under that name. If not, AKEL will see decide how to act, the daily reported.

French aircraft carrier arrives in Cyprus

Phileleftheros, Politis
Regional/International Relations, External Security


French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle arrived at the Limassol port on Monday, the third time it visits Cyprus as part of its mission to make the French presence in the region more visible, the dailies report.

The massive vessel, with a 1,800-strong crew, participates in the Clemenceau 21 mission, which is part of Operation Inhérent Résolve against the Islamic state.

French Ambassador to Cyprus, Salina Grenet-Catalano, thanked Cyprus for its warm welcome to the French navy.

The Charles de Gaulle’s Commander, Guillaume Pinget, said during a tour for members of the press of the vessel, that the crew, who sailed from Toulon three months ago, are happy to be in Limassol, a familiar place for them as this is their third visit in three years. Pinget thanked the Cypriot authorities for hosting them in these special conditions of the pandemic. The purpose of the visit is for sailors and staff to rest and rejuvenate, he said.

The dailies also report that, on the occasion of the French nautical force’s presence, the National Guard will over the coming period carry out joint aeronautical exercises with the French Navy.

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