Dispute over border closure in Cyprus
Ten days ago the Republic of Cyprus closed four border crossing points to Northern Cyprus. The government in Nicosia said the measure was aimed at protecting citizens from coronavirus. The Council of Ministers is due to decide today, Tuesday, whether to reopen the crossings after the closure sparked protests on both the Turkish-Cypriot and Greek-Cypriot sides. What are the real motives for the closure?
Anastasiadis is copying the EU
Preventing the spread of the virus is just a lame excuse, Turkish Cypriot columnist Şener Levent writes in Politis:
“The President of the Republic of Cyprus Anastasiadis has lit the fuse. And he couldn't even explain why he did it. First he blamed it on the coronavirus. Then he said it was due to the arrival of refugees from northern Cyprus. In my opinion the main reason is the refugees. In other words, he was unable to say 'Turkey has opened its doors, the north is in the hands of Turkey and that is why we have closed our doors like the rest of Europe'. Why has the European Union so far remained silent on the closure of the checkpoints in Cyprus? It has nothing to say, because it too is keeping its doors shut tight.”
Neither closing nor opening crossings makes sense
Any cabinet decision will be controversial, the Cyprus Mail puts in:
“Especially now that we have the first confirmed cases of coronavirus. If it reopens the crossings, its decision of 10 days ago will look completely absurd, considering that the supposed public health reasons for taking it - to prevent the spread of the coronavirus - still exist. ... Then again, their closing has not prevented the outbreak of the virus. Keeping them closed will put the government under more political pressure, especially after the incidents at [the border crossing at] Ledra Street over the previous two weekends that were marked by scuffles between police and demonstrators.”