Front Page Headlines
We stayed at home, violence increased
An increase in domestic violence and violence against women was observed during the time people have stayed home due to the pandemic. There was a rise in court hearings in April concerning sexual abuse, attempt to rape, assault and threats. Women’s activists pointed to a security flaw.
- There is risk in lifting restrictions without taking the right measures – Member of the Science Council, Expert in Respiratory illnesses, allergies and sleep apnoea Prof Dr Finn Rasmussen warned that there was a high risk of infections spiralling out of control. He said despite the positive outcome of early measures taken not enough tests have been carried out from the beginning.
- No cases in the north, five people have been discharged. 2,467 tests carried out in the south, six new cases.
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The wheels of the economy must turn
Chamber of Industry (KTSO), Chamber of Artisans and Shopkeepers (KTEZO) and Cyprus Turkish Building Contractors’ Association (KTIMB) support the government’s plans to reopen some of the businesses as of May 4. Head of KTIMB, Osman Amca said the opening of the construction sector, which is one of the driving forces of the economy in the north, would have positive consequences. KTEZO President Mahmut Kanber said the retailers also want to return to their shops but the cabinet must continue with the assistance provided for them to survive the crisis. KTSO president Candan Avunduk said the opening of the sectors will lessen the economic strife in the north and said: “The wheels of the economy must turn.”
- PM Ersin Tatar: No date yet on opening to the outside world.
- South Cyprus also planning on normalisation on 4 May.
Hopes for ‘immunity’
The World Health Organisation (WHO) announced there is no scientific evidence that those infected by Covid-19 and recover develop immunity against the virus. WHO said evidence suggests recovered patients could be infected again. It also warned countries planning to issue ‘immune passports’ to those who have recovered from Covid-19, stating it will only increase the risk of the virus spreading faster.
- The latest situation: North 108 cases, four deaths; South 810 cases 14 deaths; Turkey 107,773 cases, 2,706 deaths.
He barely saved his life
Betting office manager Alperen Yaylaz who spoke to others about a software programme he developed was taken to the Boğaz picnic site and tortured for hours. His torturers demanded he paid them ₺500,000 (€ 71,600). The attackers were coincidently caught in Serhatköy (Fyllia).
- No positive case – 324 people tested yesterday (Saturday) in North Cyprus.
- 2,467 tests – The total number of cases in South Cyprus reached 819 with six new cases.
- Death toll 2,706 – 2,861 new cases in Turkey bringing the total number to 107,773.
No money flowing in from Turkey
Prime Minister Ersin Tatar could not provide a convincing response to the question as to why Turkey does not send money to the north. Tatar, who recalled that ₺750m (€100m) as part of an agreement signed with Ankara, had been sent, failed to mention that ₺650m (€87m) of that amount was spent on defence expenditures. He also said he had had a meeting with (Turkish President) Recep Tayyip Erdoğan but Tatar cannot openly admit Turkey is not sending any money to the north.
- No money if you don’t have a bank account – Hundreds of Turkish Cypriots and third-country nationals who do not have bank accounts in the south have not received any allowances for a month and a half.
- Electricity and fuel prices must be reduced – Mehmet Çakıcı, leader of TKP-YG (Communal Liberation Party-New Forces) urged the authorities to lower the price of electricity and petrol in line with the drop in global oil prices.
- Some of the businesses will reopen in the south in May – It is reported some of the businesses might open on 4 May if all goes well.
- No new cases in the north – No new cases identified in the north following 324 tests. Five patients were discharged following their recovery. Six new cases identified in the south and the total number of cases reached 810.
Αkıncı asks WHO to include north in Covid statisticsYenidüzen, Kıbrıs Postası, Kıbrıs, Havadis, Diyalog, Afrika
President Mustafa Akıncı has written to the World Health Organisation (WHO) and asked them to include the occupied territories in their coronavirus pandemic reports, all dailies reported on Sunday.
According to a statement issued by the Office of the President, Akıncı wrote a letter to WHO leader Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus reminding him that the Turkish Cypriot people were fighting the virus too and were taking all the necessary precautionary measures.
Akıncı urged WHO to establish a direct line of communication between them and show solidarity.
“WHO has a major role to play in our battle against the virus, therefore the north needs a direct contact to communicate effectively,” the letter concluded.
Meanwhile, no new cases were detected in the north on Saturday with the number remaining to 108 for the eighth day in the row.
An additional five people were discharged from hospital and another 113 repatriated Turkish Cypriots from Ankara were sent home after completing their mandatory 14-day quarantine.
Also on Sunday Yenidüzen reported an increase in domestic violence in the north, outlining that in April, there was a rise in the number of attempted rapes, beatings, violence against women and threats of violence.
While, Turkish Cypriot Prime Minister Ersin Tatar said that they were planning to reopen some economic sectors on May 4, Monday, he said it was too early to say when crossing points or flights could be opened.
Erhürman says north’s system needs to be ‘reset’Yenidüzen, Kıbrıs Postası, Kıbrıs, Havadis, Diyalog, Afrika
Internal Security, Economy
“It is the best time to see what’s not working in the north and to turn a brand-new page,” Republican Turkish Party (CTP) leader Tufan Erhürman said on Saturday.
In a social media post, Erhürman pointed out that the sectors in the north, once opened will be faced with serious economic difficulties.
“We have to quickly improve our health system; establish a crisis desk for the economy; we have to restructure all our production sectors and finally we have to establish a new public administration system,” Erhürman said.
He highlighted the importance of the health sector being prepared for any possible scenarios following the reopening of the sectors.
The CTP leader emphasised the need for a crisis desk to plan the economy for workers, retailers, businesses and all other economic players.
“All the sectors must be prepared for all possible scenarios. Nothing will be the same after the pandemic. Moreover, it should not be the same for us in the first place anyhow!” Erhürman said.
In terms of the public sector, the CTP leader highlighted the need to strengthen the role of the public sector and improve its productivity.
“We have to learn our lessons from the crisis. We were closed down for reasons that were beyond our control but we can transform the current situation into an opportunity to reset the system.” Erhürman said.
“We can change anything we were not happy with ranging from politics to our education system,” he concluded.
In an earlier post on Saturday, Erhürman touched on the plight of the Turkish Cypriot workers employed in the south.
“The Turkish Cypriots working in the south are also among the victims of the pandemic,” he noted and added that even if the economic activities were to resume in the south, it was still unknown when the Turkish Cypriots would be allowed to return to their jobs in the south.
“The authorities in the north must get in touch with the authorities in the south to safeguard the Turkish Cypriots’ employment in the south,” Erhürman stressed.
In a related development, Turkish Cypriots working in the south asked the Turkish Cypriot authorities to grant them special permission to be allowed to cross to the south on May 4.
In a statement issued on Friday, the workers drew attention the drop in coronavirus cases on both sides of the island, stating this was a positive development.
They, however, complained that they had run out of money and spent all their savings
“We, a total of 1,525 registered workers in the south as well as countless unregistered ones, have not been able to go to our workplace since March 14. We do not have any social assurances in the north and we have not been able to collect our salaries or allowances from the south,” the statement read.
The workers also noted in light of the continuing threat of the coronavirus, it is understood the authorities on both sides do not intend to open the crossings for the public any time soon.
“It is, therefore, our demand from the authorities to allow and give priority to the Turkish Cypriot workers employed in the south. We need money but what is more important is that if we do not return t when the south reopens, we face the risk of losing our jobs,” the statement concluded.
In the meantime, the People’s Party (HP) General Secretary Jale Refik Rogers warned against the reopening of the sectors hastily on Saturday.
Speaking on Bayrak, Rogers said the number of cases in the north has remained low due to swift and timely measures adopted by the government.
She, however, warned that the authorities should not rush into lifting restrictions or relaxing the measures.
“We have to be cautious and take calculated steps,” Rogers concluded.
The Chamber of Industry (KTSO), Chamber of Artisans and Shopkeepers (KTEZO) and Cyprus Turkish Building Contractors’ Association (KTIMB) expressed support to the plans to reopen some of the businesses as of May 4, Kıbrıs reported on Sunday.
Speaking to the daily, Head of KTIMB, Osman Amca said the opening of the construction sector, which is one of the driving forces of the economy in the north, would have positive consequences.
Amca also noted the Association’s health and safety experts have provided a briefing to the Prime Minister on how and which sectors should be reopened.
KTEZO president Mahmut Kanber said the retailers also want to open their shops but the cabinet must continue with the assistance provided for them to weather the crisis.
He said there 10,000 retailers employing 40,000 workers and their shops have been closed for nearly 50 days now.
“The people are now concerned they might starve to death before the virus gets them,” Kanber stressed.
He urged the authorities to continue with the economic relief and support packages for the retailers to survive the crisis awaiting all.
KTSO president Candan Avunduk said the opening of the sectors will lessen the economic strife in the north and said: “The wheels of the economy must turn.”
Turkish vessels circle Cypriot watersKıbrıs Postası
Energy, Regional/International Relations
Two Turkish seismic research vessels and one drillship are operating off the eastern, western and southern coast of Cyprus, Kıbrıs Postası reported on Saturday.
According to information obtained from ship tracking website, the Yavuz drillship is currently located to the south of the island.
The Barbaros Hayreddin Pasha is currently off the coast of Famagusta and the Oruç Reis seismic is currently off the west of the island, the daily reported.
In the meantime, Retired Admiral Mustafa Özbey on Saturday said the Blue Homeland must be included in the Turkish and Turkish Cypriot education curriculums.
In a social media post, Özbey also argued that students at schools were not informed well enough on the Cyprus problem and the disputes with Greece.
“Our Blue Homeland struggle is not a fight over oil or natural gas. On the contrary, we are fighting for the title-deed of an area that is being stolen from us,” Özbey claimed.
Comparing Turkey with Greece, Özbey said the ideology of Hellenism is in the life-long learning format in the Greek education system and the Greek Church whereas the Turkish youth graduate from school only with the information they have been taught.
“Ideologies can only be defeated with opinions and not with weapons,” Özbey stressed and added the Turkish youth are not equipped with adequate information to defeat the opposing ideology of Hellenism.
“Hellenism wants to usurp our rights in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean. It is the Turkish state’s primary responsibility to up bring youth who are fully aware of the threats and risks to Turkey and are willing to take on the responsibility,” Özbey concluded.