The Prime Ministry issued a statement today saying that the anti-malarial drugs and materials provided by South Cyprus via the Bi-Communal Health Committee were transferred, in cooperation with the Presidency, to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus in an illegal manner.
In the statement, it was noted that the drugs in question will be examined by the Ministry of Health, Pharmaceuticals and Pharmacy Department, if deemed appropriate, they will be allowed to be stored and used if necessary.
The statement went on to say that the Ministry of Health is evaluating whether those who may have handle the packages when bringing these drugs to North Cyprus will be quarantined.
The Prime Ministry statement read:
“A number of drugs and materials, which were stated to be supplied by the ‘Bi-Communal Health Committee’ under the umbrella of the Presidency from the European Union and the Greek Administration, were transferred to our country illegally in the afternoon today.
“Namely; In order for a drug or healthcare product to enter the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, permission must be obtained from the Pharmaceuticals and Pharmacy Department in advance.
“After obtaining the permission, customs procedures are made for the drugs and materials in question.
“In this case, both of these legal processes were ignored, and the materials were introduced into our country irregularly with the presidency of the Presidency and the inclusion of the Turkish Municipality of Nicosia.
“These developments were evaluated by our government and it was decided to bring the following issues to the knowledge of our people:
“The illegal introduction of the drugs and materials in question to our country will be examined by the relevant authorities and will be done accordingly.
“Due to the contact with the people on the Greek side, the Ministry of Health will carefully examine whether the people involved in the process will be quarantined or not.
“Whether the drug and material in question can be used to combat the Covid-19 virus will be discussed by experts. If there is no problem, the material will be allowed to be available in our warehouses and used when necessary”.
Last week President Mustafa Akinci asked for medication and protective materials to help in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
President Nicos Anastasiades said he would send over 2,000 chloroquine tablets and protective wear.
Following which, Akinci drew fire from PM Ersin Tatar, President Tayyip Erdogan and other ministers for asking for and taking assistance from the south.
Following PM Tatar’s statement about the illegality of importing medication over the border, Akinci said that he had been waiting for further blowback.
“We learned from this announcement that we have conducted a major smuggling crime,” was Akinci’s wry response.