TCC Press Review 24 Mar 2020

Front Page Headlines

Yenidüzen

We can succeed altogether

The European Commission (EC) earmarks €5m to the Turkish Cypriot community for the provision of medical equipment and supplies to fight the Covid-19 pandemic. Businessmen Halil and Hüseyin Falyalı donated $50,000 and purchased 2500 Covid-19 rapid testing kits. Owner of İktisat Bank Mete Özmerter picked up the equipment with his private jet. The German tourist group, in which the first cases of coronavirus were seen, are starting to fly back to their country as of this morning (Tuesday) following the completion of their 14-day quarantine period.

  • Latest coronavirus figures – A total of 116 in the south with eight recovered. A total of 40 in the south with 29 recovered. 156 in total.
  • 42 arrests on the first day – 42 people were arrested yesterday for violating partial curfew. 

Kıbrıs Postası

Ceased print/Online only

Kıbrıs

Don’t go out on the streets unless necessary

Those who violate the partial curfew can be fined up to ₺3600 (approx. €509) and/or one year of imprisonment or both in line with the Penal Code Article 156. 44 people have been arrested for violating curfew.

  • South Cyprus also imposes a partial curfew.
  • EU gives 5m assistance to the Turkish Cypriots.
  • Two new cases in the north, bringing the total cases to 40.
  • 21 new cases in the south, bringing the total cases to 116.
  • 37 died in Turkey. There are 1529 cases.
  • German tourists returning their homes today (Tuesday).

Havadis

There are subtle differences

The representatives of the political parties agree on the economic measures to be implemented however they expressed hesitation on the planning. The political parties want the funds to be exact and areas where the money will be spent to be defined. Republican Turkish Party (CTP) leader Tufan Erhürman said the plan must cover a three to six month period and the different budget items, where cuts will be made needs to be identified. Rebirth Party (YDP) leader Erhan Arıklı said the state needs ₺2bn in three months but it is not possible to plan without knowing the source of the money. Social Democratic Party (TDP) leader Cemal Özyiğit stressed the need for exact figures to be provided for planning. People’s Party (HP) leader Yenal Senin highlighted the need for social justice and added the plan should envisage all sectors recovering from the economic crisis gradually.

  • Flew the second time for corona kits and equipment.
  • EU gives 5m assistance to the Turkish Cypriots.
  • The number of cases on the island reached 156 – There are 40 confirmed cases in the north and 116 in the south.
  • 37 dead, 1529 cases in Turkey.
  • Merit Hotel dismisses its entire staff – The Merit Hotels group, which has five hotels in the north, has given all its personnel ‘unpaid leave’. Basın-Sen (Turkish Cypriot Press Workers’ Union) President Ali Kişmir said the personnel were left on their own to suffer and slammed the hotel group’s decision.

Diyalog

Strict control

Police arrested 44 people violating curfew and charged them. Police which is warning people to remain home unless necessary is only allowing those who need to visit supermarkets or pharmacies. According to information obtained by Diyalog’s reporter, police stepped up controls last night (Monday) questioning people on the street before booking them. Some of those arrested were foreign nationals who said they did not know about the curfew.

  • 11 left in hospital – 29 of 40 people who have tested positive for coronavirus have been discharged.
  • Greek Cypriots concerned –The number of coronavirus cases in the south has reached 116 with 21 new cases.
  • 37 losses of life – The number of patients in Turkey has risen to 1529.
  • It will remain in place until 13 April – A curfew similar to the one in the North is starting in South Cyprus as of today.

Afrika

Screening at homes

40 cases in the north, 116 in the south. Total of 156. 21 new cases have been detected in the south which is capable of carrying out faster tests. Only two new cases in the north yesterday (Monday). Health Minister Ali Pilli who announced that screenings will take place at households as of today (Tuesday) said that up to 20 people had been tested yesterday (Monday). He, however, said he did not know the exact number of people who have been tested to date. Pilli also said that eight TRNC citizens were currently receiving treatment in quarantine.

  • Curfew declared in the south – The partial curfew will remain in place for three weeks. €150 for those who violate the curfew. Visits to churches and mosques as well as Easter celebrations have been cancelled.
  • €5m from the European Union (EU) – The EU is giving the Turkish Cypriot community €5m for the provision of medical equipment and supplies.
  • 42 people violate ban – 42 people were charged for violating the curfew in the TRNC. A night club in Güvercinlik (Acheritou) also violated the ban.
  • Another migrant boat – A boat carrying a hundred or so migrants was barred by Greek Cypriot police from entering their territorial waters. The boat has turned its course to the TRNC.
  • He picked up the medicine with his private plane – The owner of İktisat Bank Mete Özmerter flew his private plane to Turkey to pick up the necessary kits for testing and brought them to the TRNC.

Main News

Two new cases, dozens arrested for violating partial curfew

Yenidüzen, Kıbrıs Postası, Kıbrıs, Havadis, Diyalog, Afrika
Internal Security

OVERVIEW

Two new cases were confirmed on Monday bringing the total number of people who have tested positive for the virus in the north to 40.

Speaking to Bayrak on Monday night, Pilli said that 29 of the 40 patients, all German tourists, had been discharged from hospital after recovering from the virus.

He said there were currently eleven patients receiving treatment, eight of which were Turkish Cypriots, two Germans and 1 individual from Turkmenistan.

Pilli added that all were responding well to treatment and none of the patients had to be placed in the ICU.

Earlier on Monday night, Pilli had told Bayrak that the tender process for the purchase of 30 respiratory machines had been completed and that rapid testing kits had arrived thanks to a wealthy banker who had flown his private plane to Ankara where he picked up and brought the equipment to the island.

He added that a shipment of protective clothing, masks and other medical equipment had also arrived at Kyrenia port on Monday.

Pilli reminded that an outpatient clinic where patients with fever will be referred to will come into service on Tuesday and that the rapid testing kits will be used.

He added that they will also start testing people door to door as of Wednesday, screening homes where suspected cases were residing.

Pilli also repeated his appeal for people to respect the partial curfew.

“We are working to contain this virus, citizens should not go out. The decision to impose a curfew is a good decision. The people should remain home so that we can effectively fight this virus,” he added.

Meanwhile, it was reported that more than 40 people were arrested by police on Monday for violating the partial curfew.

The partial curfew announced that as of midnight Sunday restricts people from going outside for trips except to the supermarket, pharmacy, banks, doctors’ appointments and petrol stations for 14 days. 

The measures include a ban on all home visits, as well as, picnics and sightseeing.

The process of repatriating 756 tourists who were kept in isolation at three hotels in Famagusta for the past 14 days after members of the groups they travelled with tested positive for coronavirus to their countries began on Tuesday.

A total of 433 German, 160 Swedish, 109 Polish and 54 French tourists will be flown back to their own countries via six charter flights on Tuesday and Wednesday.

In the meantime, the bicommunal Technical Committee for Health announced on Monday that it has launched an initiative for the delivery of medicines from the south to the north.

The committee said that the initiative had been launched upon a request made by Turkish Cypriot patients who had been acquiring medication for their treatment from the south.

The General Coordinator for the Technical Committees in the north, Meltem Onurkan Samani said they were working to facilitate the delivery of the medications through the UN buffer zone by individuals assigned by the committee.

“If we succeed in doing this that the problem will be solved,” she said.

The Greek Cypriot co-chair of the committee Leonidas Filaktu, speaking to Kathimerini newspaper said that they had taken up the matter with the Republic of Cyprus (RoC) Interior Minister Nicos Nuris.

He said that Turkish Cypriot patients were currently cut off of their supply of medication obtained from the south following the closing of the crossing points due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Brussels, meanwhile announced on Monday that it has earmarked €5m to assist the Turkish Cypriot community in the fight against the coronavirus.

The European Council (EC) announced it will fund the provision of medical equipment and supplies for the north to help fight the coronavirus pandemic.

In a statement issued from the EC, the support will be coordinated through a purchase contract with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and in collaboration with an international health expert, the co-chair of the bi-communal committee on health and relevant local stakeholders.

The statement also noted that the needs to be covered under the fund for the north were in line with the World Health Organisation’s guidance and are the most relevant and urgent ones.

The medical equipment and supplies will include intensive care medical equipment such as ventilators, personal protective equipment such as gowns, safety goggles, face shields, N95 masks, test kits, antibiotics and antivirals.

The first batch of urgent medical supplies will mainly cover personal protection equipment (PPE), test kits, reagents used in Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) and Intensive Care Unit (ICU) materials.

“A joint crisis management desk must be established in the north without any further delay,” the Cyprus Socialist Party (KSP) said on Monday.

In a written statement, the KSP argued that the current crisis was badly managed because there was more than one body dealing with the issue.  

“The fact that the coronavirus pandemic is managed by multiple centres in the north when there are very limited resources will limit actions to mere recommendations and failure to adopt the real measures,” the KSP argued.

The party also urged the authorities to immediately compensate the labour force, which is forced to stay at home; provide financial aid to those in need; allow the Turkish Cypriots earning a living in the south to cross, and to compensate those who cannot cross to the south for their loss of income.

Additionally, the KSP urged the authorities to nationalise all hotels in the north to be utilised as quarantine centres and to purchase the necessary medical equipment and test kits.

The Turkish Cypriot Secondary School Teachers’ Union (KTOEÖS) on Monday said that any economic measures adopted by the government must be transparently done and must be based on the principle of equality.

KTOEÖS in a written statement expressed teachers’ readiness and willingness to make necessary sacrifices as long as the measures were equal, fair, and transparent and implemented democratically.

Selma Eylem, Chairwoman of KTOEÖS also slammed the National Unity Party (UBP) – People’s Party (HP) coalition, accusing the coalition of using the pandemic as an excuse to prune the rights of workers while protecting the business community.”

“The government should first focus on the inequality in the distribution of revenues in the north and look at funds allocated to political parties, associations, unnecessary representation offices abroad, grant schemes, incentives and other exemptions provided to the wealthy before adopting any measures,” Eylem stressed.

Eylem argued that it is not possible to expect any solidarity from the UBP-HP coalition.

Both Turkish Cypriot Journalists’ Association and Basın-Sen (Turkish Cypriot Press Workers’ Union) have asked the government to include the members of the media in their economic aid package on Monday.

In a statement issued jointly, the two organisations also highlighted the media workers remain committed to carrying on with their work to inform the public on the developments on the coronavirus pandemic without allowing room for speculative and fake news.

Former Turkish Cypriot Finance Minister and Democratic Party (DP) MP Serdar Denktaş on Monday joined the chorus of economic organisations highlighting the need to ask for more financial assistance from Turkey to mitigate the negative impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the Turkish Cypriot economy.

“We should ask for the ₺1.4bn (approx. €928.2m) at once from Turkey,” Denktaş said in a post on social media.

He urged the Turkish Cypriot authorities to launch an initiative to ask Turkey to send the entire amount allocated under the “financial aid and grants” section of the budget.

He argued that the ₺72m (approx €10.2m) in funds released several days ago through the Turkish Ziraat Bank, will not be enough to address the economic crisis awaiting the Turkish Cypriot government.

“The president, the government and the opposition parties must swiftly prepare and finalise the economic measures to be adopted and then knock on Ankara’s door,” Denktaş concluded.  

In the meantime, the People’s Party (HP) following in the Republican Turkish Party’s (CTP) footsteps, announced its own set of economic proposals to minimize the impact of the coronavirus pandemic measures on the Turkish Cypriot economy.

Parallel to Denktaş’ recommendation, the HP also urged the government to launch initiatives with Ankara for the transfer of the ₺1.4bn (approx. €928.2m) for the TRNC budget in one lump sum.

In a long list of recommendations that are separated by sectors, the HP recommended that the state reduce and/or delay taxes, which constitute its primary source of revenues whilst providing incentives to the private sector to keep the wheels of the economy turning.

The HP also recommended the establishment of a broad-based financial and fiscal policy advisory board to operate under the ministry of finance to design economic policies to help the private and the public sectors to keep afloat.


Abducted from his home, beaten up, then brought to the north

Kıbrıs
Internal Security

OVERVIEW

Barış Can Deliceırmak, who had been targeting known business people on his social media accounts, was brought to the north beaten up badly, Kıbrıs reports.

Deliceırmak, who has been living in the south, had been using his Facebook account to insult known business people and their wives and families until Monday night.

He was first forced to live-broadcast a message of apology on social media by his attackers before being made to erase all previous posts.

The faces of the four men could not be seen on the video nor could they be heard to identify whether they were Turkish or Greek Cypriots.

Deliceırmak was then dumped somewhere along the northern side of the ceasefire line in a military zone beaten up badly.

He who was then brought to the Nicosia police station and arrested before placed in a 14-day quarantine.

Police will charge him for illegally entering the north through a military zone.