Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Kudret Ozersay, speaking about reopening the border crossings, reminded that the Turkish Cypriots had made sacrifices by remaining at home and having to close their businesses at great economic cost to themselves in order to stop the spread of Covid-19. Lockdown in North Cyprus has been gradually eased, however, the government does not want to risk the spread of the disease by making any rash decisions, he said.
“We are in favour of opening the border checkpoints as soon as possible, we want them to be opened to eliminate the problems for the workers [who work in the south],” Ozersay said in a statement, adding that under normal circumstances no one would want to close the border. “As a government, we would like the border checkpoints to be opened as soon as possible, but it is very important that we find the right way to do this without endangering the health of the community. The Greek Cypriot side is talking about June 8. But the crucial question here is: When will the same situation prevail here on the Greek Cypriot side on the issue of the coronavirus? If the cases on the Greek Cypriot side continue, the risk will be great. Therefore, the measures that will be taken will depend on this, “Ozersay explained.
Referring to the meeting he had attended along with the prime minister and other political party representatives with President Mustafa Akinci, he said, they exchanged views on the issue and evaluated the Greek Cypriot side’s proposal for reopening the border, Ozersay said:
“The Greek Cypriot side has stated since yesterday that the two sides have agreed on this issue. However, as decided by the cabinet to take measures for safety and health reasons for border checkpoint restrictions, it is not possible to open them now in any other way. The administration in south Cyprus proposed to open the roadblocks on June 8 for five categories of people. We need to sit down and make an assessment. We need to evaluate what steps will be taken and under what conditions, when they will be taken and what measures we will take. It is the cabinet that will make this assessment. And this is the view of the Minister of Health. According to the constitution, the person in charge of the matter is the Minister of Health”.
Referring to the situation in Turkey, Ozersay said that they needed to monitor the developments and the course of the pandemic in Turkey and internationally and would act, taking into account the steps taken by other countries.
Recalling that the government has given permission to TRNC citizens to travel to Turkey either for health reasons or for funerals, Ozersay added that they will ensure their return. He added that in the near future they will allow foreign nationals residing in North Cyprus to return, but added that any citizen entering the TRNC must remain in compulsory quarantine for 14 days.