President Mustafa Akinci, speaking about the fire which broke out in Derinya, within the fenced off city of Varosha, said that the cause of the fire was unknown and added that the most important thing was to find how the fire broke out.
“I do not want to fuel any speculations as I have yet to receive any information as to how the fire started. There might be different views as to how the fire broke out. The important thing is for the truth to come out” Akinci said in response to various claims in social media and newspapers that the fire had been started deliberately.
Akinci said that he had followed developments closely with his staff from the very beginning and had been in contact with the chief of police throughout the whole incident.
Pointing out that the Greek Cypriot side had offered assistance to help put out the fire, Akinci said: “Of course we shall resort to our means to put out such fires. But let me be clear that if needed to, we would have without hesitation asked for help from the UN and the Greek Cypriot side. Let me all remind you that from the very first day of my election, I have upheld the view that the other side is not our enemy but our partners for a common future”.
Akinci said that for years both sides had evolved through a culture of mistrust and conflict. “Our culture to assist each other has not developed enough. We need to change the way we look at things. They (Greek Cypriots) too are hesitating to accept help when experiencing such incidents. This needs to change. We need to stop seeing each other as enemies and start seeing each other as partners. These are my views but I believe it will take time to see things change in practice. At this point the important thing is that the fire was put out before it led to a disaster”, he said.
Akinci had given instructions for assistance to be sought from the Greek Cypriot side, the British bases, and the United Nations, if Turkish Cypriot fire-fighting teams could not cope.
The fire broke out shortly after noon last Friday and spread quickly due to strong winds. The fire was put under control at around 8pm with the help of two water-dropping helicopters from the British military bases as well as a fire fighting plane which arrived from Turkey.