Children remain trapped in collapsed hotel
A total of seven Turkish Cypriots were reported dead on Tuesday from the large-scale earthquakes that devastated parts of Turkey and Syria the day before.
Reports in the north said that a mother and her two children, a mother and her baby, and two men are among those reported killed in Monday’s earthquake.
Siblings Arda and Ilknur Akbaba were reported to have died along with their mother Elif in the quake that affected Kahranmaras.
In Antakya, Sheyma Koshe and her baby boy Poyraz were found dead in the wreckage of the quake, while in Hatay, coach of the Gocmenkoy football club Amac Arnavutoglu was reported to have died. He had been in Turkey for medical reasons.
A seventh young man, 18-year-old footballer Mehmet Gulen was also reported to have died in Hatay.
Siblings Arda and Ilknur Akbaba and their mother Elif died in the quakeMeanwhile, a group of children from the Famagusta lyceum in the north remained trapped under the rubble of their hotel for a second day on Tuesday in Turkey, as the Turkish Cypriots sent another team of 100 rescuers to help clear the damage.
The children, around 25 boys and girls, were in Adiyaman for a volleyball tournament and had been staying at the Isias hotel at the time of the earthquake.
On Tuesday morning, a second rescue team of 100 rescuers departed from the north, while the ‘cabinet’ decided that a team would be sent to the hotel everyday to contribute in the rescue efforts of the Turkish Cypriots.
President Nicos Anastasiades also reiterated the Republic’s call to help the rescue effort.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Turkish Cypriot students, parents and teachers that are still missing. We reiterate our readiness to contribute and offer our assistance to the humanitarian, rescue and recovery efforts that are currently taking place,” he said on social media.
The foreign ministry said that a search and rescue team from Cyprus is waiting in the wings to assist through the EU efforts already underway.
The EU has sent teams from 11 member states to the area in Turkey to help with the efforts.
Speaking to Cyprus Mail on Tuesday, the foreign ministry of the Republic said that their teams remain at the ready, and they have requested permission to send a team through the EU framework.
Foreign Ministry Permanent Secretary Kornelios Korneliou went on record to Sigma TV to say that Turkey had denied help to from the Republic.
“We have received Turkey response: Thank you, but we will not take [your help].”
He added that the issue of non-recognition of the Republic of Cyprus seems to be taking centre stage in the face of the humanitarian crisis.
Meanwhile, the volunteerism commissioner’s office released number to two bank accounts in Cyprus, where people can donate to the people affected by the devastating earthquakes in Turkey and Syria.
The account numbers for donations are: Bank of Cyprus 357015667368 and Hellenic Bank 105-11-137244-01.
The Association for Historical Dialogue and Research, and NGO, also sent their condolences over the incident.
“We would like to express that such times are times we need to show solidarity and support. We hope for the safety of all people affected by the disaster; and for the safe return of the students from Famagusta who were visiting Turkey,” they said.
They also shared the bank account information for the Turkish Red Crescent, for people to send support.
On Monday a first rescue team was sent from the north to the area, as mass calls went out on social media from Turkish Cypriots to provide supplies for the quake affected areas.
Meanwhile, also on Monday night a flight arrived back with 17 other students and their parents, who had also been staying in Adiyaman but at a different hotel.
Children were tearfully greeted by their parents in the airport, where they had been waiting anxiously, reports from Haber Kibris said.
Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar is coordinating the effort. Following a ‘cabinet’, meeting the ‘prime minister’ Unal Ustel said that they would be sending a team and a ‘minister’ every day to the Isias hotel, to contribute in the rescue efforts.
One writer from Yeni Duzen, who is at the scene in Adiyaman, Sedat Kilic said that his brother Recep made it out of the Isias hotel, while his cousin Havin was also trapped with the students.
He said: “Not a single nail had been removed from the rubble, until we got here last night.”
However, on Monday night, the ‘education minister’ Nazim Cavusoglu said that ten bodies had been removed from the rubble, but that none of them were from the Turkish Cypriot school group.
In announcements on Monday, teachers unions and educators in the north said that they were anxiously awaiting news of their students.
“It only increases our pain and worries. We are anxiously awaiting good news from Turkey,” the teaching union KTOS and KTOEOS said.