A Cypriot rescue team, earlier greenlit to fly to Turkey on Thursday afternoon has been grounded by Ankara, which is set to announce that they do not need any more missions to deal with the fallout of the devastating earthquakes in the southern part of the country.
Head of the rescue team Panayiotis Liasides confirmed the crew would not be traveling to Turkey after all. He said the EU Civil Protection Mechanism had officially informed them they no longer had clearance to assist in efforts to locate survivors.
Some 17,000 people have so far been confirmed dead after Monday’s earthquake that shook southern Turkey and Syria.
Earlier, Liasides had said that the team was to stay in Turkey for seven days, and that replacement crews would be on call if needed.
Also on Thursday, and speaking to the Ant1 channel, Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides said that the Cypriot rescue team – comprising 15 rescue workers, a doctor, and a nurse – had difficulties finding a way to get to Turkey from Larnaca, and that they had agreed to have a Romanian plane transport them.
“However, at the last minute, they [the Romanian aircraft team] said they cannot take us, as according to our information, Turkey will release an announcement stating they do not need any more help,” Kasoulides said.
He quipped that Turkey wanted to show the rest of the world that they are self-sufficient.