Cyprus: mixed reactions among islanders to bailout chaos

Cyprus: mixed reactions among islanders to bailout chaos
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Their savings may have been protected by last night’s parliament vote, but how do Cypriots feel, knowing their country is teetering ever-closer towards possible bankruptcy?

For the Turkish Cypriot community living in the northern part of the island, which is not part of the European Union and is only recognised by Ankara, there is a bit of ‘I told you so’.

Turkish Cypriot Pembe Gourlr said: “Thank God we’re not in European Union. Also, Turkey has got a strong economy and is helping us a lot, so we don’t have any problems with our economy.

“I think the Greek side made a big mistake entering the EU. Before they went into the EU they had a very strong economy and the Cyprus pound was very strong. But now it’s just the opposite. Every day it’s getting worse and worse.”

For others, the main feeling is one of relief – after parliament rejected a tax on their deposits, proposed by the Eurogroup and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as part of a 10 million euro bailout.

For others, the main feeling is one of relief that the proposed levy on bank deposits was rejected by parliament on March 19.

In the capital Nicosia, Karmen Maheriotou said: “We feel quite relieved because there’s a chance that there won’t be a tax on our deposits. On the other hand though, there’s a chance the situation may be turning into something worse.”

There is concern among the Russian expatriate community, which has contributed a lot to the Cypriot economy .

Maria, who owns a Russian supermarket in Limassol, feels cheated that she may end up having to pay: “Cyprus is our country – we believed it was our country. I have lived here for 16 years. But this country has deceived us, stealing our money. Yes, stole it. It wasn’t this country’s money. We brought it here, we didn’t earn it here.”

Islanders are aware, however, that in rejecting the bank tax the Cypriot bailout also rejected the Eurogroup-IMF rescue package. They know the island needs cash and it must come from somewhere.

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