The government “would not take a negative stance” if the north wished to send humanitarian aid to Gaza through the Amalthea plan, the Cyprus Mail learned on Monday. 

Diplomatic sources said the government would be willing to help facilitate the transfer of humanitarian aid from the north towards Gaza should there be an initiative in the north for aid to be collected and sent via the Amalthea plan.  

“In a hypothetical stance where ten tonnes of aid are at a crossing point aimed at going to Larnaca and being sent to Gaza, we would not stand in their way,” the sources said. 

There was only one matter on which the sources insisted: that any aid sent from the north must bear no symbols relating to the ‘TRNC’. 

“Obviously if the aid arrives and it has ‘TRNC Aid’ stamped on it, we cannot take it. Otherwise, the government’s stance on such a hypothetical shipment would not be negative,” they said. 

The comments were made after the north’s ‘parliament’ speaker Zorlu Tore had on Friday lamented the north’s lack of ability to send humanitarian aid to Gaza while deputising for Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar, who is in Australia. 

Speaking at a ceremony for members of the north’s civil defence, he said “if only we could send food and medicinal aid to the people there.” 

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. 

The sending of humanitarian aid across the Green Line generated controversy in February last year, when 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 for the victims of the earthquakes which occurred in Turkey. 

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 cold 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.”