Government and opposition MPs have accused the Greek Cypriot administration of closing four border crossing points in a deliberate attempt to harm tourism and damage the TRNC economy.
The issue dominated debate at the TRNC Assembly on Monday.
Addressing the plenary, Prime Minister Ersin Tatar said that the coronavirus issue was being exaggerated, to the extent that it was affecting the global economy.
“All necessary measures are in place. Why all this fuss and commotion? We are shooting ourselves in the foot. What they are doing is wrong and reacting to this is our right. Anastasiades insulted Akıncı by not taking him seriously. He did not consult him before taking the decision. Mr Akıncı found out about the issue from the media just as we did”, he said.
The prime minister also pointed out that on both occasions, two people in the TRNC suspected of having the virus, had tested negative.
He also pointed out that the decision to shut down the four crossing points was a violation of the Green Line Regulation.
“We as the government need to inform the EU and other officials about the situation. This decision is not only aimed at creating discomfort on the Turkish side but also at hurting the Turkish Cypriot tourism sector by creating the false perception that there might be coronavirus in the north”, he added.
Pointing to the protest held on Saturday at the Lokmacı crossing point in Nicosia, Tatar said that the scuffles had taken place between Greek Cypriot police and Greek Cypriot protestors.
Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Kudret Özersay said that the unilateral decision taken by the Greek Cypriot side lacked seriousness, was arbitrary and harmed relations between the two sides.
He argued the move was aimed at strangling the Turkish Cypriot economy.
“The Greek Cypriot side recently introduced a number of restrictions under the pretext of the Green Line Regulation. The latest move, using the virus as an excuse, is aimed at strangling the life out of the Turkish Cypriot economy”, he said.
Özersay said that they had also contacted foreign missions and sent letters to EU officials explaining how wrong the Greek Cypriot side’s decision was.
The leader of the main opposition Republican Turkish Party Tufan Erhürman who also spoke said that the Greek Cypriot side was inconsistent in its practices and policies.
He said that it was necessary to take the issue to the UN.
“It is obvious the decision to shut the crossings has nothing to do with the coronavirus. The reaction we are putting forward is insufficient. We need to take more affirmative action”, Erhürman added.
The leader of the Social Democratic Party (TDP) Cemal Özyiğit for his part criticised the Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades for shutting down four of the seven crossing points by paying heed to the provocative demands of the far-right political party ELAM.
“The Greek Cypriot leader needs to correct this mistake as soon as possible”, he said.
Also speaking, the leader of the Rebirth Party (YDP) Erhan Arıklı said that the decision was economically motivated.
He argued that Anastasiades had shut down the four crossing points in an attempt to curb the flow of cash to the Turkish Cypriot economy.