“Greek Cyprus trying to score political points over fire”
“Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akıncı had discussions with Greek Cypriot leader Anastasiades again and again. We wanted to send a plane and helicopter. The Greek side is trying to take advantage of such a delicate issue and against such a humanely approach, it is trying to get Turkish planes and helicopters landed on the Greek side. This is not something we would accept. We need not to make politics out of such a humanitarian issue,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said in response to questions at a joint press conference following a meeting with his visiting Turkish Cypriot counterpart, Tahsin Ertuğruloğlu, on June 22.
“We, with a humanely approach, have conveyed our offer to aid after having seen that the fire on the Greek side cannot be contained,” he said.
Turkish Forestry and Water Affairs Minister Veysel Eroğlu announced late on June 21 that Ankara was ready to send two helicopters and an aircraft from Mersin and Antalya to help fight the fire.
“Forests are common property of all mankind. We always stand ready to help extinguish fires in neighboring countries. We will not neglect to offer our assistance in the event of a request from southern Cyprus,” he said in a written statement.
Turkey’s message was passed to Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades by Akıncı, the office of Anastasiades said earlier.
The Greek Cypriot leadership, which previously rejected the same suggestion that Akıncı conveyed, announced on June 21 evening that they have accepted the aid that Turkey offered.
Nonetheless, Anastasiades replied that “the Republic of Cyprus would accept Turkey’s help, provided that it was folded into the government’s operational planning under which the other international players were operating.”
Turkey does not recognize the Republic of Cyprus.
According to information that Hürriyet obtained from sources, Turkey backed down from sending firefighting aircraft because of “the rambling insistence” by the Greek Cypriot side to have Turkish aircraft land on the southern part of the divided island.
Ankara had intended to have its aircraft only fight the fire from the air.
Source: Hürriyet Daily News