The north’s ‘transport minister’ Erhan Arikli insisted on Tuesday that “sabotage” was the cause of power cuts at Ercan (Tymbou) airport after six flights were cancelled on Monday due to more power cuts.

He doubled down on his position in ‘parliament’ when questioned on the matter by opposition party CTP leader Tufan Erhurman.

Erhurman asked him to “prove there is sabotage” regarding the airport’s electricity supply, to which Arikli replied that “the men were caught on CCTV”.

Erhurman then asked, “where are they now?”, to which Arikli puzzlingly replied “we need to ask you about that.”

Arikli added, “I am asking why you, as the official opposition, are not following the issue. You say there is no sabotage, and therefore ensure the events are being covered up.”

When order was restored following a shouting match, Erhurman said “you have gone out of your mind, you surely cannot be hearing yourself. This is a disgrace.”

“This is not a government, this is a clan in and of itself,” he said.

Earlier in the day, Arikli had explained that the backup generator supporting weather devices at the airport had been cut off from the grid and said that he had given instructions for “critical points” in the area to be equipped with cameras as of today.

He described the losses of power as an “interesting coincidence”, adding that power cuts occur on a regular basis at the airport but “it has never happened before that the generators didn’t start up.”

Arikli had first suggested “man-made sabotage” could have been the cause of the airport’s power cuts back in November, after he himself was stranded at the airport amid a spate of outages.