TCC Press Review 27 Apr 2020

Front Page Headlines

Yenidüzen

‘Controlled opening inside, isolated from the outside’

Doctors speaking to Yenidüzen said it was positive there were no new cases but warned not to let go of measures. The doctors said the threat was not over yet and warned there might be asymptomatic cases. They said that it will not be possible to return to normal conditions until a vaccine was discovered.

  • 262 tests in the north, no new cases. 2,415 tests in the south, seven new cases.

Kıbrıs Postası

Ceased print/Online only

Kıbrıs

Everything stopped when corona arrived

The parliament and parliamentary subcommittees had to suspend its regular meetings due to the coronavirus pandemic. As a result, all legislative work, as well as investigations into corruption allegations, came to a halt. The parliament is seeking ways to at least get start the subcommittees up and running again. Speaker of the parliament Teberrüken Uluçay met with the heads of the subcommittees on how to resume work. Oğuzhan Hasipoğlu and Resmiye Canaltay from the National Unity Party (UBP), Jale Refik Rogers from the People’s Party (HP), Fikri Toros, Doğuş Derya and Fazilet Özdenefe from the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) attended the meeting.

  • Coronavirus also hits the associations – Günay Kibrit, head of the Turkish Cypriot Association for Physically Disabled Persons’ said they are not able to collect enough money to pay their staff. Övgü İnce, Coordinator for the Kemal Saraçoğlu Children with Leukaemia Foundation said they only raise money for the foundation through the events they organise.
  • No new cases of coronavirus in the north for nine days.
  • The total number of cases in the south increased to 817.
  • 99 more died due to coronavirus in Turkey.

Havadis

The businesses are worried

Mahmut Kanber, head of the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Artisans and Shopkeepers (KTEZO) warns the crisis will deepen if the necessary economic conditions are not created before the reopening of the sectors. Kanber said the devaluation of the Turkish Lira against foreign currencies continues. Almost everything is imported into the country, which is calculated on US dollars. The coronavirus pandemic also revealed ‘opportunists’ in the country, and as a result, the price of everything has gone up. “Our members are going through tough days,” Kanber added. He said 80 per cent of the 10,000 businesses were currently closed. “As KTEZO, we proposed the cabinet to continue providing salary support to businesses which will re-open together with deferrals of mandatory payments,” Kanber said, adding if the cabinet does not take on the responsibility, the economic crisis will become worse.

  • The latest situation: North 108 cases, four deaths; South 810 cases, 14 deaths; Turkey 107,773 cases, 2,706 deaths.

Diyalog

₺138m is ready

The Finance Ministry which paid public sector pensioners ₺14,1m (€1.9m) will be paying ordinary pensioners tomorrow (Tuesday). Finance Minister Olgun Amcaoğlu said that there will be no problem in paying salaries despite the economic difficulties being experienced.

  • 262 tests carried out –No new case was announced in North Cyprus yesterday (Sunday).
  • 2,415 tests – The total number of cases in South Cyprus rose to 817 with seven new cases.
  • Death toll reaches 2,805 – The number of cases in Turkey reaches 110,130 with 2,357 new cases. 
  • They played the whole day – The empty streets of Nicosia’s walled city were left to the children.
  • It will be better than before – (Heath) Minister Pilli who visited the sections of the general hospital which had been destroyed by the fire but repaired gave out an important message.

Afrika

Is it over?

There are no new cases of coronavirus in the north. This is both good and worrying news at the same time. The 262 tests carried out on Sunday also came back negative. The testing will continue even if the normalisation process is launched. 9009 tests have been carried out to date in the north and the total number of cases is 108.

  • Pilli: Covid-19 is not over – Turkish Cypriot health minister Ali Pilli said the coronavirus is not over yet and warned people not to relax the measures. He also added the Dr Burhan Nalbantoğlu hospital will have a very strong ICU.

Main News

Authorities in the north cautiously optimistic

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

OVERVIEW

No new cases were reported in the north on Sunday, the ninth consecutive day.

Turkish Cypriot Health Minister Ali Pilli, in a written statement, said that 262 tests had been carried out on Sunday, bringing the total to 9009.

92 patients have recovered from Covid-19 while 12 more are still receiving treatment.

The total number of cases in the north stands at 108.

Some of the north’s leading health experts and doctors said on Sunday that it could be possible that Covid-19 had arrived in the north earlier in the year in January and February.

They argue that this could be one of the reasons why the rate of infection in the north had remained low.

Dr Sibel Siber, Dr Bülent Dizdarlı, Dr Mustafa Arabacıoğlu and Dr Mert Taşkın who spoke separately to Kıbrıs Postası, argued that a large section of the population might have already experienced the virus, mostly with mild symptoms and gained immunity.

They all recalled treating a high number of cases earlier in the year with symptoms that fit Covid-19.

The doctors added that the only way to determine whether this was the case was to conduct more tests on the general public.

Another team of doctors speaking to Yenidüzen, expressed cautious optimism, stating that it was both positive and worrying that no new positive cases have emerged in the last nine days.

They warned that the public should let down its guard despite these positive developments as there could be asymptomatic cases everywhere.

Dr Özlem Gürkut pointed out that it will not be possible to return to normal conditions until a vaccine is discovered.

The doctors said that life in the north would slowly go back to normal through gradual and controlled phases, but isolation from the outside world will continue.

Also on Sunday, Pilli inspected sections of the general hospital in Nicosia which was destroyed in the fire two months ago.

He told reporters that the hospital had received upgrades in terms of its ICU capacity.

Pilli also reassured the public that the Covid-19 ward was well isolated from the rest of the hospital and patients.

Recalling the government’s plan to gradually start re-opening economic sectors as of May 4, he said that health was important but so was resuming economic activity.

Pilli warned that there could still be asymptomatic cases which were why it was important for people to adhere to rules on social distancing, wearing masks and maintaining good personnel hygiene.

Meanwhile, authorities in the north booked 12 people for not wearing a mask while being outside, violating a decree mandating the use of a mask when in public spaces, it emerged on Sunday.

In 24 hours from Saturday, 6 am until Sunday 6 am, 33 people were booked for violating movement restrictions. Of those, 12 were not wearing a mask.

Those found without a mask, are subject to a fine, equivalent to 10 per cent of the minimum wage in the north, around ₺400 (€54), or up to a year in jail.

Police proceeded to file charges against the 12.


Scientific facts to guide process to normalisation

Yenidüzen, Kıbrıs Postası, Kıbrıs, Havadis, Diyalog, Afrika
Internal Security, Economy, Governance and Power Sharing

OVERVIEW

“Scientific data will lead the way in the normalisation process,” Turkish Cypriot Prime Minister Ersin Tatar said on Sunday.

Speaking during a meeting with the academics from economy departments of universities and with economists Bülent Şemiler, Ahmet Aker, Mustafa Gündüz, and Emre Olgun, Tatar noted the cabinet intends to follow the opinions and recommendations of experts and scientific data when deciding on reopening economic sectors just as it had when taking the radical and swift measures against the coronavirus.

“It is for this reason, the cabinet will allow economists to draw the road map ahead,” Tatar stressed.

He also noted each ministry will prepare and submit their respective ‘normalisation plans’ for the overall plan to finalized in the cabinet meeting next week.

In the meantime, Democratic Party (DP) leader Fikri Ataoğlu on Sunday accused the cabinet of mismanaging both the economic and the coronavirus pandemic crisis.

In a written statement, Ataoğlu argued the cabinet has only adopted the measures to win votes and political leverage over others given the upcoming elections in October.

He said none of the moves was in the interest of the public.

Ataoğlu also slammed the cabinet for not taking into consideration the views of the opposition parties.

“We condemn the cabinet’s motives cantered around winning votes and we wish to remind all political parties their responsibilities towards the people,” Ataoğlu said.

Urging the cabinet to be more welcoming to alternative ideas, Ataoğlu highlighted the importance of other political parties to be forthcoming with ideas to make the north prepared for the post-coronavirus crisis era.

Also on Sunday, the Cyprus Socialist Party (KSP) urged the authorities to provide financial support to all the Turkish Cypriot workers employed in the south.

In a written statement, the KSP emphasised the workers employed in the south have not been included in any one of the relief packages announced by the cabinet.

“These workers, moreover, will be faced with the risk of losing their jobs when the normalisation process commences in the south but the crossings remain closed,” the KSP stressed and urged the authorities to open the crossings immediately.

“The crossing points do not have any role to play in the spread of the virus but insisting on keeping the crossings closed would only mean fellow Turkish Cypriots losing their jobs,” the KSP statement concluded. 

In another development, Rebirth Party (YDP) leader Erhan Arıklı on Sunday, said the YDP will file an objection with the Constitutional Court against parliament’s decision to extend President Mustafa Akıncı’s term in office.

In a written statement, Arıklı claimed the parliament had only agreed to extend the term due to the extraordinary situation the north was in.

“The parliament adopted the decision knowing that it would violate the constitution,” Arıklı argued and said the YDP believes that article 99 of the constitution is not sufficient to extend the presidential term.

“On the contrary, the article 104 of the constitution should have been followed and instead of extending the presidential term, the speaker of the parliament should have assumed the post until the elections were held,” Arıklı said.

Arıklı also underlined the YDP objects to extend the president’s term in office and not to the postponement of the elections.

“It is also unfair on President Mustafa Akıncı,” Arıklı concluded.