TCC Press Review 8 Sept 2020

Front Page Headlines

Yenidüzen

Fear, panic, concern

A spike in local transmission cases caused widespread concern. 26 more cases were detected yesterday (Monday), four of them local transmission. The Higher Board for Contagious Diseases which discussed various measures did not announce the decisions. Following the committee’s meeting where radical measures were discussed, Prime Minister Ersin Tatar, Deputy Prime Minister Kudret Özersay and Health Minister Ali Pilli came together for a second meeting. Nothing was announced after that meeting either. The Prime Minister said that the cabinet will be convening today (Tuesday) to discuss the measures. Regarding the board’s decisions which circulated on social media, Pilli said there were no decisions, just recommendations.

Kıbrıs

Severely concerned

Following the increase in the number of local transmission cases, the public is becoming more concerned about the pandemic. Health organisations called on the authorities to implement measures. The cabinet will hold an extraordinary meeting today (Tuesday) however on the premises that the north’s economy cannot survive yet another lockdown.

  • The validity duration of the PCR test amended – The Turkish Cypriot health ministry amended the September 5 decisions. In this respect, people arriving from category A list of countries via South Cyprus will be allowed to enter the north without a quarantine requirement provided that they present a negative PCR result obtained within the last 72 hours. Passengers arriving from category B or C list of countries will have to present the officials a negative PCR test obtained within the last 120 hours before their journey. Passengers from category B list of countries will have to undergo a seven-day mandatory quarantine and there is a 14-day mandatory quarantine for passengers from category C list of countries. 
  • Four local total of 26 cases.

Havadis

The government is merely standing idly while the pandemic is spiralling out of control

A joint statement was issued by the Turkish Cypriot Doctors’ Association, Chamber of Turkish Cypriot Doctors, Chamber of Turkish Cypriot Dentists and Turkish Cypriot Doctors’ Union. The four organisations highlight the local transmission cases, which their source cannot be identified, are on the rise and there is a risk the pandemic could get out of control. “To control the speed of the spread of the pandemic, screening tests must be carried out throughout the north,” the organisations argue.

  • Cabinet taking it slow – 93 positive coronavirus cases identified in the past five days. Health organisations are uprising however the cabinet is taking it slow. The cabinet will convene today (Tuesday) to evaluate the situation.
  • “Resign without any delay” – Presidential candidate and leader of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) Tufan Erhürman urged the National Unity Party (UBP) – People’s Party (HP) coalition to resign during the event organized for him to announce his vision for the presidency. 
  • Implement measures urgently – Doctors working at the Dr Burhan Nalbantoğlu hospital’s pandemic centre urge the government to implement measures urgently.

Diyalog

Decision day

The higher board (for contagious diseases) which discussed proposals of the health organisations left the final say on new measures to the Council of Ministers. Panic was rife in North Cyprus after decisions concerning the pandemic changed three times in the last three days. The proposals tabled by health organisations yesterday (Tuesday) and the circulation of these proposals at the table led to harsh reactions on social media. The proposals include shutting all entertainment venues, taverns, restaurants, beauty parlours, schools and universities until October 1. Cancellation of all weddings and post-funeral ceremonies were also proposed. The board left the final word to the Council of Ministers.

  • He’s arriving today – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in a statement before arriving proposed to mediate between Turkey and South Cyprus.
  • Customs didn’t buy it – He tried to sell Greek Cypriot number plated cars to a scrap dealer and forged documents to create the impression the vehicles were undergoing repairs in a mechanic shop.

Avrupa

Panic

Return to March. The Turkish Cypriot community had yet another very stressful day. The increasing number of cases caused anxiety and concern. The Contagious Diseases Board wants all entertainment outlets, beauty parlours closed, mass events including campaigning activities cancelled until October 1. Moreover, the board wants to postpone the opening of schools until October 1 as well.

Main News

Panic and anger grips the north as Covid-19 cases spike

Yenidüzen, Kıbrıs, Havadis, Diyalog, Avrupa
Internal Security, Governance and Power Sharing

OVERVIEW

The Turkish Cypriot cabinet will convene on Tuesday morning to discuss stricter measures in light of the increase in the number of positive coronavirus cases on Monday.

The spike in cases caused panic and outrage within the Turkish Cypriot community on Monday especially as the surge coincided with the opening of the new school year for grade one and two students.

Many blasted the government for ignoring earlier calls to take action to prevent the spread of the virus.

People accused government officials of complacency and incompetency as well as failing to prepare for an increase in cases, particularly regarding the construction of a pandemic hospital.

Turkish Cypriot Health Minister Ali Pilli announced a total of 26 new cases were identified out of the 1811 cases carried out on Monday.

He added that the 18 cases were already in quarantine as contacts of previously confirmed cases, four had arrived from abroad and were already in quarantine. “The remaining four cases were all local cases and the contact-tracing is underway,” Pilli concluded.

Even though not confirmed by the authorities, the Turkish Cypriot media reported that a five-old boy and his mother were among those who tested positive in Akdoğan (Lysi).

Akdoğan (Lysi), along with Vadili (Vatyli) and İnönü (Sinta), have seen increased cases recently leading to Turkish Cypriot authorities banning gatherings and weddings in the area for 14 days.

Ahmet Latif, Mayor of Akdoğan (Lysi), in a social media post on Monday, announced the municipality will intensify its disinfection work in the public spaces while the municipality personnel will control adherence to covid-19 rules in private establishments such as banks and supermarkets.

Latif also noted that the municipality has asked the health ministry personnel to carry out PCR tests to everyone in the town.

Meanwhile, the Contagious Diseases Board, which convened on Monday under the chairmanship of health ministry undersecretary Ali Çaygür, recommended a series of measures to contain the sudden spread of the coronavirus.

The Board recommended postponement of the opening of all schools, kindergartens, tuition centres and higher education centres until October 1.

In addition to closing down all entertainment facilities, the Board also recommended that all public places such as children playgrounds, sports fields and courts, beauty parlours, barbers, night clubs, and taverns until October 1.

It also imposed restrictions on the ongoing campaign activities and recommended the prohibition of mass events.

It is reported that the board presented the Turkish Cypriot health minister with its set of recommended measures to be given to Prime Minister Ersin Tatar.

Turkish Cypriot Prime Minister Ersin Tatar, speaking to Bayrak, said the cabinet would convene on Tuesday morning to discuss the measures to implement.

He reassured the public that the situation was under control and that there was no need for major panic.

“We are taking the necessary measures as the public’s health remains to be our top priority,” he said.

Tatar noted that the local cases are from Akdoğan (Lysi) and Kyrenia and urged the people to refrain from going to crowded places.

In an unexpected development, Turkish Cypriot health minister and senior ministry personnel held a meeting with the infectious diseases and pulmonologists working in the treatment of the positive cases on Monday afternoon.

Dr Mustafa Akansoy, head of the pulmonology ward at the Dr Burhan Nalbantoğlu Hospital highlighted what the authorities need to do to contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic on Monday.

“The authorities must close all ports of entry into the north for at least ten days; the schools must be shut for at least 15 days and all public gatherings to be postponed for at least a month,” Akansoy wrote on social media.

Akansoy also asked for the authorities to test everyone in the north while on the other hand, the health ministry should increase the number of doctors and nurses employed in the pandemic.

Meanwhile, Dr Özlem Gürkut and the Turkish Cypriot Doctors’ Association expressed support to the health ministry during a meeting on Monday with the Turkish Cypriot health minister Ali Pilli.

“Collaboration is vital because of the sharp increase in the number of cases,” Gürkut concluded.

Moreover, the TC Doctors’ Association (KTTB), Chamber of TC Doctors, Chamber of Dentists and TC Doctors’ Union (TIP-İŞ) issued a joint statement on Monday urging the health authorities to implement radical measures to stop the swift spread of local transmission cases.

“While it is a positive development to increase the number of PCR tests carried out throughout the north, it is also vital to standardize the sample-taking and laboratory procedures,” the joint statement read and asked the authorities to increase the number of personnel tasked with Covid-19 diagnosis, recovery and contact-tracing.

The organisations pointed out that the current medical personnel on duty are suffering from fatigue.

The organisations also highlighted the importance of screening tests to be carried out in the community and to intensify controls on mass events.

The joint statement also urged the people to strictly adhere to personal hygiene and social distancing rules as well.


Erhürman announces his vision for the presidency

Yenidüzen, Kıbrıs, Havadis, Diyalog, Avrupa
Governance and Power Sharing, Negotiations Process, Energy, EU Matters, Regional/International Relations

OVERVIEW

The leader of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) and independent candidate Tufan Erhürman on Monday announced his policies if elected as the new leader of the Turkish Cypriot community.

Announcing his vision for the presidency at an event which was held without any participants due to a spike in Covid-19 cases, Erhürman vowed to work for a bizonal, bicommunal solution (BBF) to the Cyprus Problem.

He said that whoever is elected as the president needs to exercise leadership.

“The next Turkish Cypriot leader should work for the solution of the Cyprus Problem and at the same time work to integrate the Turkish Cypriot community with international law,” he said.

Erhürman also said that he will work hard to strengthen diplomatic relations with both Turkey and the European Union (EU).

Regarding the issue of hydrocarbons, the CTP candidate pointed out that Turkish Cypriots were equal partners on the island and had equal rights over the island’s resources.

“This island is ours and we have equal rights,” he said.

Erhürman also criticized the government’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, stating that the authorities had only decided to implement measures after the situation became critical.

He said the government should sit down and adopt urgent measures to curb the rise in local transmission cases.

“The president-elect will also need to focus on the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Erhürman, adding that he will work 24/7 on all issues ranging from the economy to education, health and politics.

“We have no time lose,” he said.   

KEY ACTORS
Erhürman (CTP)
>> Will work for a BBF solution to the Cyprob.
>> Next TC leader should work for both a settlement to the Cyprob & integrating TC community with int’l law.
>> President-elect needs to establish strong diplomatic ties with Turkey & EU.
>> TCs are equal partners on the island & have equal say over hydrocarbons.
>> President-elect will also need to focus on Covid-19 pandemic.


Erdoğan: Actions disregarding rights in East Med only strengthen Turkey’s determination

Yenidüzen, Kıbrıs, Havadis, Diyalog
Energy, Regional/International Relations

OVERVIEW

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan warned Monday that disrespectful actions carried out against Turkey only serve to strengthen its determination.

“Those who try to act with fait accompli by disregarding Turkey’s lawful rights in the Eastern Mediterranean and Aegean will eventually accept the facts,” he said, following a cabinet meeting Monday evening.

“Every political, diplomatic or military mistake or disrespectful act carried out against our country, instead of turning us from our path, reinforces our determination,” he said.

Referring to Greece, the president stressed that those who are struggling with their inadequate military power instead of sitting at the negotiating table with Ankara should at least examine Turkey’s diplomatic efforts and military operations in the last four years.

“Turkey will maintain an active and determined policy regarding its rights in the Eastern Mediterranean like it did to ensure its border security,” Erdoğan said, referring to a series of successful counterterrorism operations carried out in northern Syria.

Erdoğan also urged European countries to follow a consistent policy in the Eastern Mediterranean, after they failed to do so in Cyprus, Syria and Libya.


He could not deceive the customs

Diyalog
Internal Security

OVERVIEW

Two men admitted to their crime of forging documents and attempting to deceive Turkish Cypriot customs officials by selling Republic of Cyprus (RoC) number plated vehicle to a scrapyard in Güzelyurt (Morphou), Diyalog reported on Tuesday.

The suspects’ scam was revealed when the Customs officer found Gül’s vehicle at the scrap yard.

Gül had crossed to the north on August 21 through the Beyarmudu (Pergamos) crossing point driving his RoC registered vehicle with plate number HXP712 and then sold it to a scrap yard for ₺3,000 (€342).

Gül then obtained a forged document from Eray Özvulurmuş, who owns a garage, before he could cross back to the south at the Metehan (Agios Dometios) crossing point, claiming that his car is currently being repaired.

Both suspects, who have admitted to their crime of attempting to deceive the authorities by presenting them with forged documents, were released on bail during the court hearing on Monday, awaiting their verdict.