The north wishes it could send humanitarian aid to Gaza, ‘parliament speaker’ Zorlu Tore said on Friday.

Deputising for Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar at a ceremony for members of the north’s civil defence, he touched on the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza, and said “if only we could send food and medicinal aid to the people there.”

Tore’s words come on the same day as it emerged that the United Nations has resumed the transfer of humanitarian aid arriving by sea in Gaza under the Amalthea plan, with the aid being routed via the Larnaca port, which is located in the Republic of Cyprus.

The Larnaca port at its closest is located just 16 kilometres by road from its closest crossing point to the north, at Pergamos.

It is also located just 41km by road from the north’s second largest town Famagusta, and 65km from the Merkez Lefkosa open air market, where humanitarian aid from the north was collected in February last year to be sent to victims of the earthquakes which hit the southeast of Turkey.

As such, should there exist a combined will for humanitarian aid to be sent from the north to Gaza via the Amalthea plan, it would likely be logistically possible.

However, a will on the part of both sides of the island to come together to provide humanitarian aid for Gaza may be lacking, as was seen in the aftermath of last year’s earthquakes.

A group of people were initially blocked from crossing northwards by the Turkish Cypriot police at the Ledra Palace crossing point in Nicosia while carrying bottled water and other supplies in February last year.

The police initially insisted that each person could only cross to the north with one person’s worth of water, and then later claimed the computer system of recording identity cards at the crossing point had gone down.

The water was eventually allowed to cross, but the north’s ‘foreign minister’ Tahsin Ertugruloglu said Greek Cypriots “had insidious dreams and were trying to separate the Turkish Cypriots from our motherland Turkey.”

He faced backlash from opposition party CTP ‘MP’ Dogus Derya, who asked, “at a time when people are fighting for their lives in the could and are hungry, is it not despicable to prevent aid from arriving?

Then opposition party TDP leader Mine Atli also reacted, saying “the goal of dozens of people at the Ledra Palace crossing was not just water. In all this pain, there was a desire to feel humanity, solidarity, and love in these beautiful people.”

The Cyprus Mail reached out to the government in an attempt to learn what the government’s response would be should the north offer to send humanitarian aid in the direction of Larnaca for the purpose of the Amalthea plan, but did not receive any response.