Türkiye U-turns on rejection of Cypriot rescue aid

NICOSIA, Feb. 8 (Xinhua) -- Türkiye has accepted Cyprus' offer of rescue teams to help in the search for victims of the earthquake which hit the southern part of the country on Monday. Türkiye had originally rejected the offer.

Cypriot Foreign Ministry spokesman Demetris Demetriou said in a tweet that Türkiye had conveyed its acceptance via the European Civil Protection Mechanism.

A Turkish military operation in 1974 led to the partition of the eastern Mediterranean island, and its northern part is still controlled by Turkish troops.

However, on Tuesday Cyprus expressed its readiness to help Türkiye.

Demetriou told state CyBC television that a team of rescuers has been assembled and is now ready to depart.

"Cyprus Airways will make capacity available on its scheduled flights to Beirut, and is willing to organize special relief flights to bring the necessary cargo to the areas that most need the support," he added.

Cyprus' state-run Volunteerism Coordinating Council and several non-governmental organizations have announced they are collecting money and goods for victims of the earthquakes.

Special accounts have been opened for the collection of aid in the two main banks of Cyprus.

The earthquake has so far claimed the lives of over 11,000 people in Türkiye and Syria.

Among the dead are several Turkish Cypriot schoolchildren who were taking part in a school volleyball tournament in a southeastern Turkish city, and some of their parents.

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