President Ersin Tatar’s Special Representative Ergün Olgun said that harmonisation studies with the Greek Cypriot side regarding reopening the border have been completed, BRT reported. He issued the following statement:
“As it is known, a proposal was made to the Greek Cypriot side on 19 March to harmonise the practices of the two sides in order to make the border crossings operational on the instructions of our President. During the works initiated after this, intense efforts were made to initiate transitions subject to Covid-19 conditions. In this context, in the pre-Covid-19 conditions, a consensus was reached between the two parties, allowing not only Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots but also third country citizens who meet the agreed criteria to cross the border and this agreement was registered with the UN.
“The work, which was delayed due to the increase in the involvement of the Greek Cypriot side and the decision to close it as a result, gained momentum once again when the Greek Cypriot side ended lockdown on 10 May. During this period, our Ministry of Health closely followed the course of the Covid-19 epidemic in Southern Cyprus and made evaluations on the basis of the criteria set by the World Health Organization (WHO).
“In its evaluation last week, the Communicable Diseases Supreme Committee determined that Southern Cyprus fell into the orange category according to the criteria of the World Health Organization and made a decision regarding how the transitions would be in this regard. In line with this decision, a proposal was made to the Greek Cypriot side through the Bilateral Health Technical Committee in line with the objective criteria determined by WHO. Greek Cypriot officials stated that there are points to be clarified in our proposal and asked some questions. The Infection Control Committee of the Communicable Diseases Supreme Committee convened immediately and answered these questions, transmitted these answers electronically to the Greek Cypriot counterparts and called for an urgent meeting. The meeting planned to be held today (25 May 2021), It was delayed with its response that the Greek Cypriot side needed a little more time. The Greek Cypriot confirmation is expected that the meeting will be held later this week.
“At the current stage, relevant decisions have been taken by the Communicable Diseases High Committee for the resumption of transitions and the harmonisation studies with the Greek Cypriot side have also been completed. The Turkish Cypriot side is ready today to open the border crossings. After the evaluation by the Greek Cypriot leadership, it is aimed to open the border checkpoints next week within the scope of the harmonised rules of the two sides”, Olgun said.