Prime Minister Ersin Tatar has ordered a reshuffle of the cabinet following the outcry against two separate visits by businessmen from Turkey, who were not required to observe quarantine restrictions.
Tourism and Environment Minister Ünal Üstel was removed from office, and UBP Girne Deputy Kutlu Evren was appointed to this position. President Mustafa Akıncı also approved the appointment. After meeting with President Akıncı, PM Tatar made the following statement: “I have appointed Kutlu Evren in place of Ünal Üstel, Minister of Tourism and Environment … This is a change of duty. Best wishes. Research will be done. This issue has upset us, an incident has occurred. There may be these kinds of events while managing, everything must be clear and transparent”.
Prior to Üstel’s dismissal over the recent arrival of Anex Tour Group’s president, Neşet Koçkar, Üstel said that he had been scapegoated and refused to resign. Koçkar said that he had extended his warranty for his offer to build a hotel and marina in Lapta, in the event that the successful bidder dropped out. Following the debacle which his visit had created, he withdrew his bid, saying he and his company apologised for the upset.
According to reports, Deputy Prime Minister Kudret Ozersay, on Thursday had issued the prime minister with an ultimatum, saying that he should “do what he has to do”.
The prime minister said that he was reluctant to dismiss Üstel because they were old friends and fellow political campaigners. However, he said that he would do what was necessary to prevent the government from disbanding.
Noting that the government will announce a new economic package and the sectors of the economy will be relieved, Tatar explained that it would not be right to dismantle the government in such a process. “The right thing to do is for Üstel to withdraw and not force me to decide,” he said.