THE Council of Turkish Cypriot Association, established in 1983, undertook important initiatives during the Covid-19 epidemic period by helping the Turkish speaking community.
The epidemic, which affected the whole world due to coronavirus emerging in Wuhan, China, incredibly affected the UK and the Turkish speaking society. CTCA, which consists of 28 associations, made several attempts to keep up with the needs of the community members during the epidemic.
Chairman Ertugrul Mehmet spoke to Londra Gazete about the activities and efforts of CTCA during the Covid-19 crisis. CTCA Chairman stated that the cancellation of the flights in March resulted in many students being stranded in the UK along with citizens which were in the UK for a short visit.
WORKED TOGETHER FOR REPATRIATION FLIGHTS
Mehmet made the following statement in regards to repatriation flights to TRNC during March and June: “When we found out that a large number of TRNC citizens were stranded in the UK, the TRNC London Representative, educational attaché, CTCA and Cyprus Paradise worked together for 5 repatriation flights. These flights resulted in a great example of how various institutions and organisations worked in cooperation in such difficult times.
CTCA has undertaken the task of preparing the list of citizens who came to the UK from the TRNC for various reasons and were stranded. These people experienced many difficult circumstances hence; at the time we conveyed the urgency of the situation to the necessary positions and institutions in order to put more flights. In this process, we tried to cure the problems of our community members. It was an important success for our citizens to go back to TRNC safely. We are thankful to all authorities who ensured this.”
CTCA also extended their hand to the elderly and needy community members in London. CTCA carried out the ‘You are not alone’ project with the support of YTB. In cooperation with the Foreign Turkish and Relatives Community Presidency (YTB), CTCA has provided food and hygiene products to Turkish speaking community members who had financial difficulties, elderly, chronic diseases or self-isolating.
Chairman Mehmet, in his statement to Londra Gazete stated that aid packages consisting of basic food and household materials were delivered to 300 people.
BODIES OF 18 TURKISH CYPRIOTS SENT TO TRNC
Stating that more than 100 Turkish Cypriots living in England passed away due to Covid-19, Chairman Mehmet asserted that bodies of 18 Turkish Cypriots were sent to TRNC.
While the families were trying to get permission from TRNC officials in order to be able to bury their loved ones in the land of their birth, the bodies were kept in the morgue of Shacklewell Lane Turkish mosque for two months.
Mehmet said that CTCA closely followed this process and sent a letter to the TRNC Council of Ministers regarding this issue. Mehmet also stated, “The families were in deep pain, they were waiting for an explanation. It was a difficult time for everyone, the TRNC officials had to make very difficult decisions in this process however the families which lost their loved ones had to wait for two months for these bodies to be sent to their homeland.”