The Turkish Cypriot administration was giving off mixed signals over plans to restore connectivity with Turkey on July 1, with head of the administration Ersin Tatar stating Thursday it had decided to stick to the decision and double-check arrivals for the virus, contradicting statements made Wednesday by Kudret Ozersay, in charge of foreign affairs in the north, who said that the administration had failed to reach a final decision and was considering to re-evaluate the move.
Speaking to a Turkish Cypriot television program on Wednesday, Ozersay said a meeting of the Turkish Cypriot administration had failed to agree on what to do about a previous decision to restore connectivity with Turkey, currently experiencing a post-lockdown coronavirus relapse, on July 1.
Ozersay noted that the situation in Turkey was different at the time that the decision was taken, but the current situation raises the need to re-evaluate the decision.
“I am not satisfied with the implementation of the previous decision on Turkey. A new decision is necessary,” Ozersay said, adding that concerns are mainly rooted in the fact that arrivals will not be required to remain in quarantine for a period of time upon arrival.
Similar statements were issued by the Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci on Wednesday night, who said that ports and the airport in the north must open to Turkey when epidemiological conditions allow and when experts monitoring the situation deem the move safe.
Akinci also noted that initially, the administration in the north was in favour of restoring connectivity with Turkey in unison with the Greek Cypriot side.
But a different picture was painted by Tatar on Thursday, who said the administration had actually agreed that the north should stick to its decision to restore connectivity with Turkey on July 1, but add the condition that those flying in will be required to show proof of a negative coronavirus test taken within 72 hours prior to departure, and will be subject to a new coronavirus test upon arrival.
Kathimerini Cyprus’ Nikos Stelgias reported that the restoration of connectivity between the north and Turkey is of prime importance to the economy in the north, but also for Turkish citizens who choose Cyprus for their educational and touristic needs.
Additionally, Turkish citizens working in the north who have been stranded in Turkey since March are eagerly awaiting their return to the island in view of securing their living wage.
Economic bodies in the north are also fighting any attempts to impose a mandatory quarantine for arriving passengers due to the economic consequences.
Residents of Turkey appear to have picked up on the shaky ground in the north, as Pegasus airlines moved to cancel a number of flights from Istanbul to the north due to low demand.
But at the same time, head of the Turkish Cypriot hoteliers association expressed concern over any re-evaluation of the decision to restore connectivity on July 1, noting that over 3,000 bookings have been made from Turkey, so hotels will need to refund money if the flight ban is extended.