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Turkey rejected earthquake assistance from Cyprus: report

Rescuers and civilians look for survivors under the rubble of collapsed buildings in Kahramanmaraş, close to the quake's epicenter, the day after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck the country's southeast, on February 7, 2023.(Photo by Adem ALTAN / AFP)

Cyprus expressed its readiness to assist in rescue efforts after a devastating earthquake in Turkey on Monday, but Turkey has refused to accept help from the country, the Financial Mirror, a weekly business newspaper in Cyprus, reported, citing Cypriot officials.

The foreign ministry’s permanent secretary, Kornelios Korneliou, told the Cyprus News Agency (CNA): “We conveyed this readiness through the European Civil Protection Mechanism and the Greek Cypriot negotiator, Menelaos Menelaou. Following consultation with the Civil Defense, we expressed our readiness to assist with a rescue team of 21 people and last night they replied ‘no thanks’,” said Korneliou.

He said the negotiator, Menelaou, conveyed to the special representative of the Turkish Cypriot leader, Ergün Olgun, “our desire and readiness to assist in the rescue efforts,” but “we were told that they do not need our help.”

The Turkish Interior Ministry issued a call for international assistance immediately after the magnitude 7.8 earthquake that struck while people were sleeping on Monday. The epicenter of the earthquake was the Pazarcık district of Kahramanmaraş in the south of Turkey. The quake destroyed buildings and claimed lives across 10 provinces as well as neighboring Syria.

There was also a 7.5 magnitude earthquake in the afternoon of the same day, which led to more damage.

Many countries around the world offered help and sent search and rescue teams to Turkey to help rescue victims trapped under the rubble.

The island of Cyprus was split after a 1974 Turkish invasion spurred by a brief coup engineered by the military then ruling Greece. Turkey does not recognize Cyprus’s Greek government. Attempts over the years to broker peace between the two sides have failed.

Meanwhile, the death toll in Turkey and Syria has risen to over 11,000 as of Wednesday.

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