LEFKOSA, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus
Turkey is sending an additional 40,000 doses of coronavirus vaccine to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) today, the visiting vice president said on Thursday.
Speaking at a signing ceremony in the capital Lefkosa, Fuat Oktay said Turkey has already delivered 40,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine to the TRNC and provided medical supplies and food aid worth 15.5 million liras ($2.2 million).
"Turkey has always been on our side, it hasn’t abandoned us on vaccines,” said Ali Pilli, the Turkish Cypriot health minister, confirming the doses’ arrival.
“A total of 80,000 vaccine doses has come from Turkey. We have used 40,000 doses, and in the coming days, we will use the 40,000 new doses."
Since December 2019, when it first appeared, the pandemic has claimed more than 2.3 million lives in 192 countries and regions.
Over 107.4 million cases have been reported worldwide, with recoveries now above 60.1 million, according to figures compiled by the US' Johns Hopkins University.
Turkey-Turkish Cypriot cooperation
Later, Turkey and the TRNC also signed several other agreements.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Oktay said: "We made very detailed evaluations in almost every field. On our agenda, there were issues related to the 2021 Economic-Financial Cooperation Agreement, the fight against COVID-19, infrastructure investments, and revitalizing the TRNC’s economy.”
He added: "Now is time for the TRNC to focus on solving its economic, political, and social problems."
Ersan Saner, the Turkish Cypriot premier, told the ceremony that the presence of an emergency hospital in the TRNC is a privilege and sign of what can be achieved when Turkey and the TRNC work together.
The Lefkosa Emergency Hospital opened last November.
On the town of Maras, a former ghost town that was partially opened last October, Saner said, "I would like to express from here to the whole world that the TRNC will fulfill all our obligations and take some more decisive steps regarding the Maras region."
He said plans call for completion of the Lefkosa Northern Ring Road towards mid-year, along with construction work at Ercan Airport, the TRNC’s first privatization project.
Meanwhile, Turkey and the TRNC local administrations inked a protocol for close cooperation on economic, social, and cultural relations.
According to a statement from the Union of Municipalities of Turkey (TBB), the protocol was signed by TBB President and Gaziantep Mayor Fatma Sahin and Mahmut Ozcinar, head of the Union of Turkish Cypriot Municipalities.
Also present at the signing ceremony were Turkey’s Communications Director Fahrettin Altun, Transport and Infrastructure Minister Adil Karaismailoglu, and Ambassador in Lefkosa Ali Murat Basceri, along with TRNC Public Works and Transport Minister Unal Ustel, National Education and Culture Minister Olgun Amcaoglu, and Finance Minister Dursun Oguz.
*Writing by Burak Bir